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CMP Video #10: “So, how does that work, money-wise. Let’s talk turkey.”

by | Sep 15, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

DebVanDerhei39reAs it has done regularly for well over two months, the Center for Medical Progress today released another undercover video, the tenth in a series in which the CMP interviews high-ranking Planned Parenthood officials and representatives from “Tissue Procurement Organizations” (TPOs), all of whom spoke with brutal candor.

Watching the video and reading a transcript, here are four important takeaways.

#1. Even after watching nine videos, your stomach turns as you hear the participants cavalierly talk about baby parts and the demand for particular organs, all in a manner that alternates pretend world-weariness with giggles. (Evidently some, perhaps most, of these conversations were recorded at a Planned Parenthood national conference held last March.)

Here is Dr. Carolyn Westoff, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Medical Advisor.

“We’ve just been working with people who want particular tissues, like, you know, they want cardiac, or they want eyes, or they want neural. …Oh, gonads! Oh, my God, gonads.”

And in case anyone should ask

“Everything we provide is fresh.”

#2. There is paranoia about what might make its way into the public sphere. Thus caution. Everything must be said in a certain way, written in a certain way, and news about fetal tissue/organs must follow a certain sequence.

The actor posing as a tissue buyer for a start-up TPO company engages Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for external medical affairs for PPFA, in a back and forth over the wisdom of talking about fetal tissue.

Dr. Cullins asks why should it be talked about at all, certainly not before fetal tissue cells provide a “cure” and abortion’s “stigma” is vanquished. “This could destroy your company and us, if we don’t time those conversations correctly,” said Dr. Cullins.

As Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, explained in a previous undercover video, there is no national PPFA policy on fetal tissue/organ harvesting, which is clearly no accident. In the latest video, Deborah VanDerhei, the national director for the Consortium of Abortion Providers at PPFA, says, “I have been talking to the executive director of the National Abortion Federation, we’re trying to figure this out as an industry, about how we’re going to manage remuneration, because the headlines would be a disaster.” (More about “remuneration” below.)

#3. One of the defenses Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards used when the first videos were released is that there are very few affiliates that harvest fetal tissue. That was clearly about to change, based on the conversations. At least, that is, before the headlines from the CMP videos.

Vanessa Russo is the Compliance Program Administrator for Planned Parenthood, Keystone, Pennsylvania. In the video she is transparently impatient with anything or anyone that gets in the way of harvesting fetal tissue/intact baby body organs. She tells VanDerhei that “I feel like we’re sometimes bullied by ridiculous laws and this media that doesn’t understand the big picture.”

And I don’t really think that we should participate in that level of discussion. And that we should operate as an organization, the way any other organization would. And I don’t feel, and I’m a researcher at heart, and I love the idea of being able to do this and participate in research. I would love to see this happen in some way. I’m probably maybe not so sensitive to like ridiculous, like, let’s have a debate on the real issue and truths, that’s a discussion I would participate in. I don’t feel like we should readily participate in discussions based on crap. …

And that we should not curtail our business for ridiculousness. Maybe curtail our business for an actual real discussion.

VanDerhei demurs. Referring to the gist of what was said at a conference that they were attending [presumably the March 2015 conference], Van Derhei immediately assures Russo

I don’t think anybody was suggesting that you curtail. The message to me, that I heard today, was, “Go for it.” We think it’s a great idea. Just do it right.

To which Russo responds

Exactly, and I understand that. But like, a company like this [the pretend buyer] that wants to pay us, that wants to give our organization money for the tissue, I think that that’s a valid exchange.

Later VenDerhei adds for emphasis [the “Roger” is Roger Evans, head of Litigation and Law for PPFA]

Because Roger said, “I’m gonna say a number of things and I only want you to go away with one message: I think this is a good idea. Now, here’s what you need to look out for,” and at the end of it, he said, “And I just want to reiterate, I think this is a good idea.”

#4. What about compensation/remuneration for the tissues and organs harvested from aborted babies? As noted above, there is no national PPFA policy on how much to charge.

“Nothing is written. There’s nothing in stone,” Dr. Nucatola said in a prior video “Folks will ask the national office questions, and we certainly have answers to those questions, but we don’t have a policy per se and that’s by choice.”

Early on, after discussing the mechanics of how (and by whom) the organs might be harvested, Russo asks the “buyer”

So, how does that work, money-wise. Let’s talk turkey.

The “buyer” responds

Typically we’re quoting people about $100 per specimen.

In a separate conversation with the “buyer,” VanDerhei asks

“Is this really worth getting–I don’t even know what in general, what a specimen generally brings in?”

When she is told the same $100 per specimen, VanDerhei remarks,

“But we have independent colleagues who generate a fair amount of income doing this.”

The latest video begins with a news clip where a Planned Parenthood type says, “So I think the American people know who Planned Parenthood is.”

Not true a few months ago, but more true each and every passing day.

Categories: PPFA