Planned Parenthood chief apologizes after video

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planned parenthood controversy orig nws_00015003

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Story highlights

  • Since the video's release earlier this week, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents
  • But allegations that Planned Parenthood sells baby body organs and tissue is unfounded, said Cecile Richards, the group's president

(CNN)Planned Parenthood's president apologized Thursday for a top official's tone in a controversial video, but she also denied the clip's allegation that her organization profits from tissue donation.

"Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member's tone and statements," said Cecile Richards, the group's president, in a video out Thursday. "As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and we take swift action to address it."
Since the video's release on Breitbart earlier this week, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents and called for congressional hearings on the incident, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
    "I hope that everyone in the country watches it," said Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri, who called the video "the most horrifying and heartbreaking undercover video I have ever seen" during a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday.
    But allegations that Planned Parenthood sells baby body organs and tissue are unfounded, she said.
    "I want to be really clear: The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs -- like any other high-quality health care providers -- follow all laws and ethical guidelines."
    On Wednesday, Richards used Twitter to criticize lawmakers and presidential candidates
    "GOP leaders, including most of the '16 field, are tripping over themselves to attack PP because they think that's how to win elections," organization president Cecile Richards said in a series of related tweets Wednesday. Her comments were her first addressing a video showing one of the organization's top officials discussing the organs and tissue or aborted fetuses.
    President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Congressional leaders and Republican presidential hopefuls slammed Planned Parenthood on Wednesday and called for congressional hearings on the incident.
    Richards said political attacks are nothing new for her organization, the country's largest abortion provider.
    "Spreading false information is an age-old strategy of people hell-bent on denying women care & shaming them for exercising their rights," she tweeted.
    Several Republican candidates have promised to defund federal dollars to Planned Parenthood if elected. Richards argued that would keep millions from breast exams, sexually transmitted infection exams and sex education.
    "Reminder: 1 out of every 5 women has been to PP in her life. Threatening our patients' care & rights will get politicians nowhere real fast," she tweeted. "We've fought for our patients before, and we'll fight for them again and again."