NRL News

Undercover video exposes willingness of top PPFA executive to alter abortion technique to obtain preordered intact body parts of aborted babies

by | Jul 15, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Tuesday morning an investigation organization known as The Center for Medical Progress released a shocking hidden-camera video in which two undercover investigators are shown discussing with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director for medical services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, how these supposed “procurers” of fetal tissue could work with Planned Parenthood affiliates to harvest intact baby body parts.

Excerpts of the full video can be viewed at 

For those who have more time and an even stronger stomach, the full CMP video can be viewed at

The setting is just this side of surreal. The CMP investigators met for lunch with Nucatola at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Between bites of salad and sips of red wine, she talked about livers (“and always as many intact livers as possible”), lungs (“Yesterday was the first time [a buyer said a client] wanted lungs”), and brains (“The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is the calvarium, the head is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact”).

Many different and damning questions can and likely will be asked of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, in the days ahead. NRLC President Carol Tobias said yesterday, “Numerous statements by Dr. Nucatola cry out for probes by Congress and other investigatory agencies – and quickly.”

Here is a lengthy quote from the video which captures Dr. Nucatola’s soul-numbing attitude and total insensitivity to what she is saying–and about whom. The context is how to get the baby’s body parts out intact, and what Planned Parenthood is willing to do to get around the obstacles posed by the “big issue”–the brain:

[Y]ou’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, 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. 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.

What to do? They convert to a breech–feet first– delivery.

Since this would be seen by almost any neutral party as altering the method of delivery, Dr. Nucatola needed a quick response to obscure what is taking place. She immediately adds, “So the preparation would be exactly the same, it’s just the order of the removal of the products is different.” [My emphasis.]

Dr. Nucatola insisted repeatedly that providing hearts and lungs and livers and brains to researchers was not intended to be a money-maker for Planned Parenthood affiliates. For the sake of discussion, let’s take her at her word.

[That is very difficult to do. Near the very end of the conversation, she talks about the importance of producing a “one-pager” that will tout all the imaginary benefits of the harvesting. “It’ll drive demand,” she says, “it’s a win-win.”]

Why else would they invite tissue and organ procurers into their abortion clinics?

Listening to Dr. Nucatola, the answers range from the mundane to the political. It costs to dispose of “biological waste” and some of Dr. Nucatola’s most  animated conversation grew out of a possibility that a tissue/organ buyer could take not just the desired intact baby parts but all the clinic’s “biological waste” (the entirety of the baby)— thus saving the abortion clinic money that would otherwise be involved in disposal.

But she also picked up and expanded upon on a rationale we’ve heard for years. That somehow the bodily remains of an unborn baby could be prospected like a mine for a “cure” for [fill in the blank]. Dr. Nucatola referred to this as “framing.”

She told the investigators there were already women coming into PPFA clinics asking about “donations.” Interestingly–and tragically–she also informed the investigators that other women will “donate” if asked, and even more will if asked a second time.

But there are a lot of people who think that what we’re all doing is bad and they don’t want this to happen at all. You know, is there a way to continue to frame this, are there things we can spotlight, benefits. Because if we can reframe the conversation, it’s just a win-win for everybody. More patients will want to do it, more affiliates will want to partner with you, and maybe some of the people who are trying to shut it down on every level will not.

Dr. Nucatola then referenced actor Christopher Reeve, who was the face of the pro-embryonic stem cell movement until his death, adding, “And I think we just need to find the right champion.”

There are a dozen other topics to talk about, but let’s end with this one.

She tells the investigators about taking a flight and what could “the worst four hours of my life”: what might follow if for some reason she tells the person sitting next to her what she does for a living. So they have to “be a little daring” and “figure out a way to talk about this” without being defensive.

First, the old standby, that “x” percentage of women will have an abortion in their lifetime.

“Wanna know something else?” she asks. “Even more than that I will say, everybody knows somebody who can benefit from stem cells research. We just need a way to collectively figure out what the talking points are, but I know that we all want to be strong partners in this for sure.”

The CMP video raises mounds of legal and ethical issues. But it also is a window into the mind of a very influential abortionist who is, in her own words, “the medical director for the national office – for all the affiliates.” In other words, a very, very powerful figure in an organization that aborts more than 330,000 children each and every year and receives mountains of private and public money.

Think about that as you read the conclusion from NRLC’s response yesterday.  

Planned Parenthood’s political arm is a major backer of many Democratic members of Congress. Lawmakers who have enjoyed Planned Parenthood’s backing should now be asked whether they will continue to oppose pending legislation to restrict the abortion of pain-capable unborn children after 20 weeks fetal age, as Planned Parenthood insists – and if so, whether they are motivated in any degree by a desire to preserve Planned Parenthood’s ability to deliver intact, well-developed baby body parts to order.

PPFA’s image is, if not unmarred, still largely positive. Some of that revenue stream of public and private money is used to polish off the tarnish that has accrued to that image.

We can hope when the truth about harvesting hearts and lungs and livers and brains to fill specific pre-orders gets a wider audience, the public will look not only at PPFA with fresh eyes but also its many supporters in Congress.

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