Aug. 22 #PPSellsBabyParts National Day of Protest
Be a prayerful presence at these Planned Parenthood locations:
- 610 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler, 9–11 a.m.
- 2500 S. Woodlands Village Blvd., Flagstaff, Contact local leader for times
- 5771 W. Eugie, Glendale, 9–11 a.m.
- 3131 E. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix, 9–11 a.m.
- 4751 N. 15th St., Phoenix, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- 1250 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, 9–11 a.m.
[/quote_box_right]A series of disturbing undercover videos has thrust abortion giant Planned Parenthood into the spotlight with allegations that it profited from the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
The Center for Medical Progress spent nearly three years gathering secret footage from meetings with Planned Parenthood officials and representatives of Stem Express, a biotech firm. At press time, six videos had gone viral after being released. CMP claims it has at least eight more.
Allegations that Planned Parenthood — which received $540 million in federal funding in 2013 — was profiting from the sale of aborted fetuses struck a nerve, causing even one abortion-rights advocate, The Arizona Republic columnist Linda Valdez, to dub the videos “cringe worthy.”
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, denied the allegations of illegal profits and claimed that “extremists” had created videos that were “false and absurd.” A fifth video, released Aug. 4, shows graphic images of 20-week-old aborted fetuses.
In the first video, Holly O’Donnell, who spent six months working at Planned Parenthood, describes how she fainted the first day when she was asked to dissect an aborted baby. She also states that Planned Parenthood benefited from the fetal tissue it transferred to Stem Express.
“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated,” O’Donnell says in the video.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a July 29 temporary restraining order preventing CMP from releasing footage of other meetings with Stem Express representatives. Then, on July 31, a federal judge issued a restraining order to prevent CMP from releasing video taken of meetings of the National Abortion Federation.
CMP responded by releasing a fourth video taken at a Texas clinic.
John Jakubczyk, a Phoenix attorney and the former president of Arizona Right to Life, said that CMP is also fighting back with its own legal arguments.
He pointed to the alleged recorded conversation at the restaurant between a Stem Express executive and CMP’s David Daleiden. Lawyers for Stem Express maintain that it was a private matter and the footage should not be released.
“Their argument is that both parties have to be aware of videotaping or audio recording under California law. However in a public place, such as a noisy restaurant where people can hear, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy,” Jakubczyk said.
Christine Accurso, director of First Way Pregnancy Center, called the footage of dismembered babies “horrific” and said the phone was ringing off the hook in the wake of the videos’ release. Normally in July First Way sees some 300 clients. This year they took in a record 496.
“I got my 16th phone call this morning just since the fifth video alone, in less than a week,” Accurso said. And although the videos shed light on the dark practices of America’s largest abortion provider, Accurso said they can be incredibly painful — even traumatizing — for those who have experienced abortion.
“I was talking with someone who had seen the video and she was bawling so hard. She watched the video a week ago. And she’s still crying so hard,” Accurso said. “When I watched the videos, the first thing that went through my mind was, ‘This is horrific. They know exactly what they’re doing and they’re covering it up.’”
Jakubczyk said the pro-life movement has been trying for decades to expose the sordid details of what really goes on inside Planned Parenthood. Mainstream media outlets have been largely uninterested in the story, he said.
In the era of social media and citizen journalists, suddenly the game has changed.
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, called the videos “a real eye-opener” for many people, even those who support abortion rights.
“The idea of commodifying human body parts is just shocking and I think it really sheds light on the real nature of what abortion is about and what Planned Parenthood is about,” Johnson said. “I think the videos add a lot of fuel to the pro-life cause. We’re very grateful that Gov. [Doug] Ducey ordered his administration to look into this matter and to find out what is really going on.”
Ducey called the CMP videos “horrifying” in a July 20 statement and ordered Arizona’s Department of Health Services to “promulgate emergency rules to prevent the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.”
Pro-lifers around the country have been energized by the CMP videos and plan nationwide protests at Planned Parenthood clinics Aug. 22. Jason Walsh, executive director of Arizona Right to Life, said both donations to the organization and volunteer signups had increased since the videos were released.
Getting people to pray and protest outside Planned Parenthood clinics Aug. 22 is critical, Jakubczyk said.
“If we don’t put the people out on the streets, the abortion industry and the media are going to claim they have successfully contained the damage.”