Based on what we know from Planned Parenthood executive Deborah Nucatola’s performance on a now-infamous undercover video, the organization may — or may not — be violating the letter of the law in how it handles fetal body parts.
But a slightly less publicized aspect of this case is whether Nucatola, the abortion provider’s senior director of medical services, admitted that the organization alters the timing or method of an abortion in order to harvest tissue or organs for research. That would be a clear contravention of federal law.
In the Center for Medical Progress’s camera footage, Nucatola tells actors posing as buyers for a human-tissue supply company, “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.”
Nucatola continues: “And with the calvarium [the head], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”
EDITORIAL: Planned Parenthood’s Ghoulish ‘Compensation’
Finally, Nucatola mentions that that since there is a high demand for fetal livers, Planned Parenthood abortionists go out of their way to use technology to assist in the careful and deliberate dismemberment of fetuses during an abortion: “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”
Changing how and where “to crush,” trying to “change the presentation,” and using “ultrasound guidance” in order for abortionists to “know where they’re putting their forceps” looks like an admission of altering abortion practice with the specific intent of harvesting organs. And altering the timing or procedures of an abortion in order to harvest organs is clearly and unambiguously against federal law.
Dr. Nucatola appears to be admitting that some Planned Parenthood abortionists openly flout federal law.
The 1993 National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act states that human fetal tissue may be obtained from an abortion only if “no alteration of the timing, method or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue” and the “abortion was performed in accordance with applicable state law.” At least some states have similar rules, too.
Dr. Nucatola appears to be admitting that some Planned Parenthood abortionists — perhaps herself, though her phrasing may have just been convenient — openly flout this federal law.
Additionally, the law requires that “human fetal tissue may be used only if the attending physician with respect to obtaining tissue from the woman involved makes a statement, made in writing and signed by the physician, declaring” that the applicable regulations are being followed.
Therefore, Nucatola and Planned Parenthood, if they follow the law at all, certify — in writing — that abortion procedures are not modified in order to harvest fetal organs before they modify abortion procedures to harvest fetal organs.
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Council, said in a statement that the hidden-camera footage shows that “Planned Parenthood abortionists can and will alter late-abortion procedures to facilitate the harvesting of intact baby body parts — she specifically mentioned hearts, lungs, livers, even intact heads — in order to fill specific pre-orders.”
#related#“For example, Dr. Nucatola specifically describes abortionists manipulating unborn children in order to remove them feet first, to facilitate obtaining an intact head, apparently to preserve an intact brain,” Tobias continued.
Even the Washington Post has noted this issue, although predictably hedged: “Buying and selling human fetal tissue is illegal in the United States. Federal regulations also prohibit anyone from altering the timing or method of an abortion for the sole purpose of later using the tissue in research. Donating the tissue for research, however, is legal with a woman’s consent” (emphasis mine).
Congress is preparing to investigate Planned Parenthood over the large-scale trafficking of fetal organs harvested from abortions. The way they carry out this grisly business may not be illegal.
If so, Congress and state governments should hammer home the abortion mill’s more straightforward violation of federal law: the intentional changing of abortion practice and timing to facilitate the harvesting of organs from aborted fetuses.
— Mark Antonio Wright is an intern at National Review.