Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Snopes Doubts That Planned Parenthood Black-Market-Baby-Parts-Story

If you haven't Faceblocked that angry middle-aged conservative man yet, you may be receiving a story about how Planned Parenthood is illegally selling baby parts. He'll send you a shocking video from a innocuously-named Center for Medical Progress, which shows a high-level official from the pro-choice group breezily discussing breaking the law over wine and noshes at a restaurant.

The Center for Medical Progress posted the video today, and Breitbart has an article on it here. The Federalist has a post about how the mainstream media have a "stunning news blackout" of this story (which, as they point out, is a whole six hours old).

Snopes rates the story "Undetermined" and points out some problems with it:

It’s unclear why the video was held for over a year before it was released, and it has some curious aspects to it. For starters, it opens with a news report and footage of Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt condemning “inappropriate behavior,” presented in a manner that made Feldt’s statement seem like she was commenting on the current issue even though the quote was actually more than a decade old.

Snopes also states that although it's illegal to sell human fetal tissue, it's legal to donate it for medical research. The "smoking gun" that the video purports to show - where the Planned Parenthood official is outlining prices - could very well be reimbursable costs for transportation. The range of money they are talking about in the video is "$30 to $100," but it's not clear for what.

Planned Parenthood released this statement:

In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does -- with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.  In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.

A well funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.  Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.

According to Breitbart, the video was made by a team led by David Daleiden. He has written on abortion matters for Live Action News and The Weekly Standard. The Center promises to release more videos, and the current offering is blowing up all over conservative media.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has ended the six-hour-old "stunning media blackout" with a report on the matter. The Federalist has yet to report on it, in what can only be described as a stunning blackout of a stunning media blackout.

SECOND UPDATE: The Federalist now has a front page piece about a partner of Planned Parenthood, which boasts in a brochure about making "financial profits" off the illegal sale of baby parts.

From Snopes: The StemExpress brochure does include a quote from Planned Parenthood Medical Director Dr. Dorothy Furgerson as well as words related to finance, although it does not exclusively reference the sale of fetal tissue. It mentions, for example, “cell rich blood and raw materials that are usually discarded during obstetrical procedures,” which includes blood drawn or collected from pregnant women (useful in medical research because it contains cell-free fetal DNA).

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