The Center for Medical Progress is an anti-abortion group targeting Planned Parenthood
On Thursday, they released their fourth video allegedly showing undercover footage of discussion of fetal tissue
Planned Parenthood has repeatedly said it has not done anything illegal
An anti-abortion group released its fourth video Thursday claiming that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue.
Following a similar format to the previous three clips, the edited video shows actors posing as researchers speaking with the Dr. Savita Ginde, who was at least at one time medical director of a Planned Parenthood branch in Denver.
Like the previous videos, this one also came from the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group accusing Planned Parenthood of breaking the law by selling aborted fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood has repeatedly denied that it has done anything illegal.
“We want to acknowledge that hearing laboratory conversations about research out of context can be jarring, especially when the conversation is being manipulated for the purpose of attacking women’s health care,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains on Thursday. “Nevertheless, this coordinated attack on women’s health will not deter us from providing essential reproductive health care and from advancing important medical research.”
And Planned Parenthood officials continued to defend their tissue donation program this week.
“The opportunity to donate fetal tissue has been a source of comfort for many women who have chosen to donate. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our patients, and advocate for removing barriers to essential health care,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood executive vice president, on Tuesday after the release of the third video.
While Planned Parenthood has previously apologized for the “tone” of an employee in an earlier video, officials would not confirm if Ginde is still currently an employee. She is listed on the medical website healthgrades.com as specializing in Family Medicine at a Planned Parenthood in Denver.
“We cannot verify the conversation that appears in that video, as we do not know how it has been edited,” Planned Parenthood spokesperson Marie Logsden told Denver’s NBC affiliate. “We encourage you not to treat the conversation that is seen on tape as if it has been validated.”
CMP told CNN on Thursday that – as they did for the first two videos – they planned to release a longer version of the video later today.
In the latest video, Ginde discussed the possibility of Planned Parenthood providing fetal organs and tissues for reasons other than research.
“I know putting it under the research gives us a little bit of a, a little sort of a overhang over the whole thing,” Ginde says. “And in public I think it makes a lot more sense for it to be in the research vein, than I’d say, business venture.”
Ginde said all Planned Parenthood clinics communicate to handle fetus organs and tissue uniformly to protect themselves legally.
“We have to know who else is doing this,” she said. “Because if you have someone in a really anti state that’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught.”
Ginde told the actors that Planned Parenthood has conversations with their attorneys about how best to prevent the nonprofit from breaking the law.
“We talked to him in the beginning, you know. We were like ‘We don’t want to get called on, you know, selling fetal parts across states. So how do we protect ourselves from that,’” she said.
Cowart said Planned Parenthood lawyers declined to enter into a contract with the individuals pretending to be researchers after seeing the contract.
“Our legal counsel provided line item edits to their proposed contract where we again clarified that we would strictly adhere to laws. Our staff asked probing questions about their process and didn’t enter into an agreement when those questions weren’t answered,” she said.
The White House on Thursday waded into the debate, calling the group behind the sting videos “extremists on the right.”
“There’s ample reason to think that this is merely the tried and true tactic that we have seen from some extremists on the right to edit this video and selectively release an edited version of the video that grossly distorts the position of the person who is actually speaking on the video,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “And Planned Parenthood has indicated that’s what has occurred here.”
The video released Thursday is the latest development in a busy week for both Planned Parenthood and the Center for Medical Progress.
A court issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday preventing the Center for Medical Progress from releasing videos featuring leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers.
David Daleiden, leader of the anti-abortion group, said Planned Parenthood is using the courts to hide illegal activity.
“The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work and will contest all attempts from Planned Parenthood and their allies to silence our First Amendment rights and suppress investigative journalism,” he said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood officials also said their website was hacked this week, and the group took their website offline temporarily Wednesday following the hack.
“It is a profoundly offensive violation of privacy and dignity that anti-abortion extremists entered our laboratory under false pretenses and are now broadcasting video of a part of the process for a safe abortion,” Laguens said. “Publicizing secret video footage of a woman’s abortion process is a grossly offensive act that should be rejected by all regardless of political perspective.”
In another event, a separate anti-abortion group, calling themselves “E,” took credit for hacking the nonprofits databases and gaining access to employee names and emails.