Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood Is Accused of Harvesting Organs from Aborted Babies. Is that Illegal?

The ugly business of abortion became even more abhorrent this week as a 30-month undercover operation revealed that Planned Parenthood’s heavily federally subsidized, billion-dollar-plus-a-year corporation seems also to be generating revenue by harvesting and selling body parts such as hearts, livers, lungs, and muscle tissue of aborted infants. The question becomes whether that is a crime. The answer under current federal law, one might say, depends on the definition of “valuable consideration” — because profiting from the sale of human remains is illegal.

The harvesting, sale, and ultimate use of the tissue and body parts of aborted fetuses is governed by a 1993 federal law passed when the United States Congress enacted 42 U.S.C. 289g, regulating fetal research in general. In particular, 42 U.S.C. 289g-2(a) makes it unlawful for any person “to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce” (emphasis added).

The law defines “valuable consideration” to exclude “reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.” 

In other words, under the law the Congress has prohibited the purchase or sale of fetal tissue for an amount of money (or other consideration) that exceeds the seller’s costs associated with transporting, implanting, processing, preserving, monitoring, and assuring quality control, or storage.

VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Top Doctor Caught Discussing Sale of Aborted Baby Parts

In the video released today by the Center for Medical Progress, to answer such questions of financial gain, we meet abortionist Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who talks about her work and the money involved. Nucatola in fact is Planned Parenthood Federation’s senior director of medical services.

Talking about the money to be made, she discusses economic forces that she must consider in establishing prices and in adjusting her deadly techniques to gather more body parts for sale. She admits that she looks at lists of body parts desired and tries to fill those orders. There can be little doubt that PPFA’s leading abortionist does not limit herself — and, by extension, PPFA — to a determination of out-of-pocket costs in setting a price for a beating heart, liver, or intact head.  

Planned Parenthood has operated too long outside the supervision of taxpayers and law enforcement.

The cold-hearted discussion of orders for livers and little hearts, her surprise at a request for lungs, and her description of how “easy” it is to get lower parts is made all the more distasteful as she enjoys a meal while describing the abortions she performs. The Center for Medical Progress’s investigation clearly exposes the market-driven nature of Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the remains of aborted fetuses. The undercover work of CMP’s David Daleiden shows in graphic detail the price-setting by PPFA’s leading abortionist as she enjoys a glass of wine while discussing a business model she admits to coordinating with others.

The release of video from this undercover investigation raises serious questions about whether PPFA allegedly has been engaged in federal and state criminal activity, which demands a full-blown criminal investigation. Putting aside the potential criminal liability of PPFA in the trafficking of aborted-fetal tissue, this activity is simply wrong and egregious and shows yet again the profit-driven nature of PPFA under its business model. 

#related#The alleged activity is principally taking place in Planned Parenthood’s “mega-centers,” detailed in Americans United for Life’s recently released report, “The New Leviathan.” As an international business making more than a billion dollars each year (and receiving $1.25 million every day from taxpayers), Planned Parenthood has operated too long outside the supervision of taxpayers and law enforcement. An impartial audit or a congressional investigation would consider how “valuable” to PP’s bottom line is the sale of aborted infants.

But let’s not lose sight of the spirit of the law in a discussion of the letter of the law. Planned Parenthood’s selling of the broken bodies of unborn children is inhumane and troubling no matter how any investigation resolves. And if Planned Parenthood’s conduct does not violate the federal law prohibiting the sale of fetal tissue and organs, then the law ought to be changed. The practices exposed by work of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress certainly rise to the level of probability that one or more crimes may have been committed, and there is no reason to delay in proceeding accordingly.

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