What America is missing in the Planned Parenthood videos
Planned Parenthood is feeling the sting of now two undercover sting videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, suggesting the abortion provider may be profiting from the sale of baby body parts.
But while America is revulsed and Planned Parenthood is scrambling to defend its practice of harvesting body parts for compensation, another major revelation from the videos is stunningly being overlooked.
For years, Planned Parenthood has maintained its positive reputation among women, activists, and politicians – despite its blatantly racist past (and arguably present), despite its gruesome and morally repugnant practice of killing babies – because in the end, Planned Parenthood has successfully conveyed the idea that it is a leading advocate for women’s health and any criticism of the organization amounts to a “war on women.” In short, our culture has capitulated to the idea that we can trust Planned Parenthood to care for women.
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle referred to this as an “ethos,” argument – a persuasive technique that doesn’t rely on logic or even emotion, but that appeals to our trust. Ethos, Aristotle taught, is the most powerful, persuasive argument you can make.
And Planned Parenthood had been winning the ethos argument … until now.
In both of the released sting videos, while the world is focused on the sale of body parts, the Planned Parenthood officials have openly admitted they’re willing to change the procedure of an abortion to harvest the parts they want.
In other words, a woman comes in to the clinic trusting Planned Parenthood to care for her health above all else, and instead, the clinic is using medical procedures it knows are less preferable in order to harvest the baby’s body parts. Whether for profit or not, the doctor is making harvest a higher priority than the woman’s health.
“Let me explain to you a little bit of a problem,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors’ Council President Dr. Mary Gatter explains in the second sting video, “If our usual technique is suction, at 10 to 12 weeks, and we switch to using an IPAS [manual vacuum aspirator] or something with less suction, in order to increase the odds that it will come out as an intact specimen, then we’re kind of violating the protocol that says to the patient, ‘We’re not doing anything different in our care of you.'”
In fact, federal law (42 U.S.C. 289g-1) requires the attending abortion physician to give the woman “a statement, made in writing and signed by the physician, declaring … no alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.”
“Now, to me that’s kind of a specious little argument,” Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Gatter continues, “and I wouldn’t object to asking Ian, who’s our surgeon who does the cases, to use an IPAS at that gestational age in order to increase the odds that he’s going to get an intact specimen, but I do need to throw it out there as a concern, because the patient is signing something and we’re signing something that’s saying, ‘We’re not changing anything with the way we’re managing you, just because we agree to give the tissue.'”
In other words, this Planned Parenthood official has no problem lying to a woman about the care she’s receiving.
And even though Dr. Gatter, in the same interview, tries to make the argument the two techniques are perfectly interchangeable, the earlier sting video featuring Planned Parenthood Federation of America Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deobrah Nucatola suggests something else altogether.
“The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is the calvarium, the head is basically the biggest part,” Nucatola explains in regards to the body part that fetches the biggest price. “And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case.”
In layman’s terms, Nucatola is explaining that the doctor will try to push the baby around instead of coming out head first to come out feet first (what most folks call “breech”), because the woman’s cervix isn’t open enough at the start of the abortion to deliver a head without crushing it.
“So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on,” Nucatola explains, “and often, at last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end. … We’ve been pretty successful with that.”
Again, in other words, in order to preserve the most valuable baby part, the doctor changes the procedure (thus lying on the form given to a woman) to make the baby breech, delay the delivery, and harvest the head.
The whole controversy about selling body parts aside, both Planned Parenthood officials openly admitted to lying to their patients and changing the procedure in order to harvest the most valuable human tissue.
Are these altered procedures inherently more dangerous to women? I lack the medical expertise to say. If indeed the breech delivery process is more dangerous than a standard abortion procedure, it would only doubly condemn Planned Parenthood.
But regardless, now that America knows Planned Parenthood is lying to women in order to harvest their babies’ most profitable parts … do we still trust Planned Parenthood to put women’s health first?
Author of this commentary, Drew Zahn, is the communications director for The Family Leader, an organization dedicated to strengthening families, by inspiring Christ-like leadership in the home, the church, and the government.