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The Week after the furor over the PPFA video: Part One

by | Jul 20, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Dr-Nucatola-week-after-img   The furor unleashed when the Center for Medical Progress released its video of a two-hour + discussion with a high ranking Planned Parenthood official is only just beginning. Like all pro-lifers who watched the stomach-churning video and/or read the shocking transcript in its entirety, we posted and posted and posted some more.

We pick up today where we left off Friday. Planned Parenthood was pretending to “apologize” for the “tone” of Dr. Deborah Nucatola’s remark but fiercely defending its trafficking in baby body parts while everyone one else was either indignant or wondering how much damage had been done to the PPFA “brand.”

NRL News Today will have three separate posts, beginning with this one.

As you recall, over salad and red wine, Dr. Nucatola, senior director for medical services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, matter-of-factly told two undercover CMP investigators about intact heads and intact livers and lungs and how together they might expedite the sale from PPFA affiliates to places that would pay a pretty penny for unborn baby body parts.

There were a host of issues raised– for example, by Dr. Nucatola’s description of how “some people” will arrange a foot-first extraction of the unborn child in order to preserve an intact skull (and thus, an intact brain.

After nonchalantly extolling PPFA for its adeptness at “crushing”–“you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact–“ Dr. Nucatola is shown on the hidden camera video saying

And with the calvarium [the skull], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head first], because when it’s vertex presentation you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amounts of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium.

  Other questions that jump out at you include just how much PPFA makes off of selling body parts. Ditto for the middlemen who purchase from PPFA and sell to researchers. Congressional investigations and probes by several states should provide the answers to a number of ethically troubling questions.

For example, Dr. Nucatola suggests that PPFA affiliates essentially charge a “pass along” fee of somewhere between $30 and $100 per “specimen.”

Is it only the “middle man” (which the CMP was pretending to be) that makes the extra? (See below.) That could well be a hugely involved question that a skilled investigator could determine.

And last week, in of all places, the New York Times, we learn

[T]he companies that acquire such tissue from Planned Parenthood can command high prices, depending on the processing required, given the demand among researchers.

“These tissues are very valuable for studying human development and finding out what makes it tick,” said  Dr. Susan Fisher, who directs the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program at the University of California, San Francisco. …

The Planned Parenthood official in the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services, mentions StemExpress, a five-year-old business in Placerville, Calif., that describes itself as “the largest provider of maternal blood and fetal tissue globally.” The Sacramento Business Journal reported in November that the company’s revenue had grown by more than 1,300 percent in three years, and Inc. magazine in August put its yearly revenue at $2.2 million.

The company, which advertises “special discounts to the academic community,” sells tissue from fetuses, afterbirth and cadavers, including fetal livers and liver stem cells  — Dr. Nucatola says in the video that fetal livers are much in demand — as well as placentas, umbilical cords, skin, diseased tissue and tumors. Some of the materials are highly processed, and the prices reflect that: The company’s catalog shows that a vial of two million fetal liver cells sells for $2,240.

When the controversy began, StemExpress’s webpage  vanished for a day and came back again–in the words of the Daily Caller–with subtle and not so subtle changes. Those included describing itself as “a small life sciences company” and what the company says as

regards the amount of content it has concerning fetal livers. Fetal livers are one of its five core products, and they make a very prominent appearance in the recent Planned Parenthood video. The company site has “product information sheets” for all its major products, including one for fetal livers.

The current version shows  several of the options crossed out , and all of the links save one are dead, leading to no product information. This is a new state of affairs, as one can  find archived versions  of the old information sheets, and  the cached version of the page   shows no crossed-out options. None of the other products show any such changes.

   If there is this much money in trafficking in baby body parts…

We’ll see as  the probes unfold if PPFA is just providing a ‘service for women who want to “donate” their baby’s remains or is something far more lucrative for the leading “provider” of abortion which already makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year off of abortions.

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