Sanders said he had not watched the video, but that he had read coverage of the story
A conservative group is alleging that Planned Parenthood sells fetal organs for profit, which would be a felony
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters Friday that the “tone” of a video of a Planned Parenthood executive talking matter-of-factly about the organization’s participation in tissue-donation programs was “terribly wrong.”
At a press conference here, where the 2016 presidential candidate is campaigning, Sanders responded to a question from CNN by saying he had not watched the video, but that he had read coverage of the story.
“Obviously, I think Cecile Richards apologized for the tone of that video,” Sanders said, referring to the group’s president. “I think her apology was exactly right. I think that the staffer, the tone was terribly wrong.”
The video, posted by California-based Center for Medical Progress, is almost three hours long and was released on Tuesday. A heavily edited eight-minute version was also released and has since received sizable attention online and by Republican politicians who oppose Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services.
The group is alleging that Planned Parenthood sells fetal organs for profit, which would be a felony.
Planned Parenthood has said that it donates the tissue for scientific research and receives only reimbursement for its expenses, which is legal. On Thursday, Richards said the group’s “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,” she said in a video. “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.”
A number of Republicans have used the video to reinvigorate a conversation about abortion and funding of Planned Parenthood.
Sanders, though, is the first 2016 Democrat to discuss the video.
All five Democratic presidential candidates – Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee – will speak Friday night at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids.
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Eugene Scott contributed to this report.