Does Planned Parenthood Sell Human Body Parts?

The community health organization Planned Parenthood has been accused by anti-abortion activists of selling human body parts. This is not true. Planned Parenthood does not sell human body parts. They do donate – with consent – fetal tissue for medical research.

Where Is This Story Coming From?

The Center for Medical Progress, a right wing group with ties to extremists who have bombed and harassed abortion clinics, released a series of videos that at first glance appear to show representatives of Planned Parenthood selling human body parts.

In fact, every single one of the videos has deceptively edited conversations in order to leave this false impression. When compared to the full, unedited video, representatives of Planned Parenthood actually turn out to be speaking about legal donation of fetal tissue.

What Is Planned Parenthood Actually Doing?

Planned Parenthood is a legal abortion provider. As a result of those abortions, fetal tissue is generated. That tissue can either simply be thrown away, or it can be used for medical research in order to make scientific discoveries to help people.

When a woman has an abortion at a Planned Parenthood center, she has the choice to donate her fetal tissue to research.

What these videos show is the exchange between Planned Parenthood centers and researchers who would use the fetal tissue. It just happens that in this case, the researchers were anti-abortion activists with hidden cameras on an anti-choice crusade.

Who Supports Fetal Tissue Donation?

The 1993 National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act reversed a Reagan administration ban on the use of fetal tissue obtained from abortions so that they could be used for medical research. Republicans supported this law, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Up until the release of these hoax videos, Republicans largely appeared to be quite fine with this process. Because abortion or not, this tissue was either going to be discarded or used to help.

Does Planned Parenthood Profit From The Sale Of Body Parts?

No. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit group. On the unedited videos, representatives of Planned Parenthood repeatedly state that they are not interested in profit.

  • In the first video Dr. Deborah Nucatola says, “This is not- nobody should be “selling” tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”
  • In the second video, PPFA Medical Directors’ Council President Mary Gatter is shown discussing reimbursement for use of space, which is legal
  • In the third video, Holly O’Donnell, a former StemExpress staff member now working with Center for Medical Progress admits that money exchanged is being used for the use of facilities, legal and not for profit

Does Planned Parenthood Use Illegal Abortion Procedures To Harvest Body Parts?

Center for Medical Progress alleges that Planned Parenthood alters the way in which they provide an abortion in order to produce more profitable body parts. In reality, the video that Center for Medical Progress released shows the discussion over two legal abortion methods. While the law says abortion methods can’t be changed to assist in procuring fetal tissue, the method can be legally changed in order to decrease the risk to the patient.

How Much Of Planned Parenthood’s Work Is Abortion?

Only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. In one year, Planned Parenthood provided 10,943,609 services to patients. Of those services, 328,308 were abortions. Abortion is only about 3% of what Planned Parenthood does.

How Much Of Planned Parenthood’s Federal Funding Is Used To Fund Abortion Services?

ZERO. Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in public funds. They are legally prohibited from using that money to provide abortion services. Federal funds received by Planned Parenthood help to provide contraception, but it is not used for abortion services.

Why Are Republicans Attacking Planned Parenthood?

Republicans and conservatives are attacking Planned Parenthood because they are using it as a proxy for a fight against abortion. A full-on attack against abortion services would be very unpopular. Americans support access to abortion services, with restrictions. An outright ban on abortion would not be politically viable.

So instead, conservatives created a series of hoax videos in order to spread disinformation about a major abortion provider. They are attempting to shut down Planned Parenthood’s federal funding – which doesn’t go towards abortion – in order to satisfy anti-abortion voters.

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