Politics & Policy

Defunding Planned Parenthood Isn’t Enough

Planned Parenthood’s “National Pink Out Day” on the steps of City Hall in Los Angeles (Reuters: Mario Anzuoni/File Photo)
Criminal prosecutions may be warranted as well.

Both Congress and our country are mired in an inexhaustible debate over whether to remove Planned Parenthood’s federal funding as a result of its provision of abortion. The question we ought to debate is whether the group’s executives deserve to be prosecuted as criminals.

There is no shortage of evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics have repeatedly and systematically broken the law. The details of their wrongdoing began to emerge exactly two years ago, when the Center for Medical Progress released its grisly undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood directors haggling with prospective buyers over line-item prices for the fetal tissue of aborted babies.

Dozens of abortionists and technicians admitted on camera to altering abortion procedures to obtain more-profitable organs. Such alteration, along with accepting payments for fetal organs that are greater than reimbursement for their expenses, is strictly illegal under federal law.

Abortion defenders argue that the videos were deceptively edited to reflect Planned Parenthood in an unfavorable light. However, CMP released the full footage of its work in addition to the shorter highlight reels. Nonpartisan examination, as well as the research of a firm employed by the abortion group itself, revealed that this footage was not doctored in any meaningful way.

But the evidence doesn’t end with the videos. In January, a House Select Panel concluded a 16-month investigation into the fetal-tissue-trafficking industry, including Planned Parenthood. Despite the obstruction and noncompliance of abortion-industry leaders, the committee documented plenteous evidence corroborating the CMP footage.

The panel’s two reports determined that biotech firms such as StemExpress frequently partner with Planned Parenthood affiliates and place employees within their clinics to perform all fetal-tissue-related work: organ harvesting, packaging, and shipping. In these cases, any money Planned Parenthood accepted from the firms must have been profit, not reimbursement for expenses, because the firm was incurring all the related costs itself. Firms explicitly advertise such partnerships as a way for clinics to boost profits.

Planned Parenthood clinics have also infringed upon the privacy of vulnerable women, violating the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which guarantees the right to privacy and informed consent. Clinic leaders disclosed details about specific patients and their pregnancies to biotech employees so they could persuade certain women to donate their fetuses if those fetuses could be sold for a higher profit.

Directors at Planned Parenthood clinics modified abortion procedures to procure intact fetuses and obtain more money for their organs. Such altered procedures greatly increase the chance of an infant’s being born alive and perhaps being killed after birth. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards testified before Congress that she had never heard of this occurring. But Planned Parenthood clinic workers disagreed; such procedures do take place.

These abuses were not limited to a few rogue clinics. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) had a national policy requiring affiliates to comply with all relevant federal law on the transfer of fetal tissue. Several affiliates failed to follow this policy, but when PPFA learned of these violations, the group canceled the policy instead of forcing compliance. It went on to alter its oversight procedures to allow those violations to continue. The national organization has also instituted abortion quotas, offering rewards to clinics that meet or exceed their abortion targets.

Because of these and other appalling findings, Congress referred several Planned Parenthood affiliates to the Justice Department, the FBI, and state-level law enforcement for further criminal investigation of its fetal-tissue practices. As we await further action, the truth about Planned Parenthood’s criminal activity continues to trickle out in drips and drabs.

Congress has yet to even remove this diabolical group’s federal funding.

A new CMP video this spring depicted Planned Parenthood employees describing having performed illegal intact partial-birth abortions and reporting their profitable partnerships to sell fetal organs. And this week, an undercover video showed a Planned Parenthood executive in Florida describing the protocol the group uses to cover up late-term dismemberment and partial-birth abortions, allowing for more-effective fetal-tissue harvesting.

It has been two years since the CMP first broke this story, causing an initial uproar as the public was disgusted by what it saw. But that outrage was swiftly swept under the rug by a combination of efficient Planned Parenthood PR and the complicit mainstream media. The news cycle moved right along to the next controversy, and the scandal was largely forgotten.

Today, Congress has yet to even remove this diabolical group’s federal funding. It is somehow a matter of serious controversy whether taxpayer money should cushion Planned Parenthood’s substantial bottom line.

The public disagreement is due in large part to the group’s insistence that it provides essential health care and almost never performs abortions. This is a blatant lie. Not only does Planned Parenthood perform over 328,000 abortions annually — nearly one-third of U.S. abortions, making it our country’s largest abortion provider — but it has conducted a multi-level operation to profit from the organs of the children its employees so casually slaughter.

Defunding this group can no longer be our endgame. As if its decades of annihilating children weren’t ghastly enough, Planned Parenthood has graduated to a new level of horror. And now we have evidence enough to ensure that its executives are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

— Alexandra DeSanctis is a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More