Planned Parenthood Undercover Video: Senior Director Admits to Selling Baby Body Parts Obtained from Partial-Birth Abortions

Jul 14, 2015 09:33 PM EDT

A group calling itself The Center for Medical Progress has released a shocking undercover video of a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing how baby parts are harvested from abortions. The organization claimed that the procedure used to extract the parts is similar to partial-birth abortions, which are illegal under US federal law.

The undercover video, which has been posted on YouTube, showed Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, describing how the nonprofit organization sells body parts of aborted fetuses and admitting to the use of partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts. David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress issued a press release describing what happened between her and actors posing as buyers "from a human biologics company" at a business lunch.

"I'd say a lot of people want liver," Nucatola said when asked of what was expected from her organization. "And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium-the head-is basically the biggest part."

Nucatola went on to describe the gruesome procedures used to obtain the body parts from aborted fetuses. According to Daleiden, she has overseen medical practice at all Planned Parenthood locations since 2009.

"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact," Nucatola said.

Nucatola then elaborated further on the procedure used at Planned Parenthood.

"And with the calvarium, in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it's not vertex," Nucatola said. "So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there's dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end."

According to the video, the procedure that Nucatola described was "identical to the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure." The Center for Medical Progress claimed that Planned Parenthood was "using ultrasound guidance to convert the fetus to breech position and extract the intact fetus up to the head."

Daleiden highlighted that Planned Parenthood has expressed concerns about legal liability in terms of the sale of fetal parts.

"At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn't want us to be the middle people for this issue right now," Nucatola said. "But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates."

Nucatola, who is shown on the video enjoying a salad, tried to justify her actions with her interpretation of current federal laws on abortion.

"The federal [partial-birth] abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation," Nucatola said. "So if I say on day one, I do not intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn't matter."

Daleiden pointed out that under 42 U.S.C. 289g-2, "the sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000." He noted that the video was part of a 3-year-long "investigative journalism study" behind the alleged practices of Planned Parenthood.

"Planned Parenthood's criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization," Daleiden said. "Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business."

Chris Spargo of the Daily Mail reported that Planned Parenthood issued a statement that the Center for Medical Progress was inaccurately portraying their role in "tissue donation programs."

"At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does - with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards," Planned Parenthood wrote.

Planned Parenthood contended that "no financial benefit for tissue donation" exists for either their patients or themselves. In addition, their efforts "support lifesaving scientific research."

"In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field," Planned Parenthood wrote.

The organization contended that it has fought "similar false accusations" of its practices before, accusing the Center for Medical Progress of promoting "a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape."

Spargo pointed out that the term "partial-birth abortion" came from the National Right to Life Committee back in 1995, not from medical professionals. He described the procedure, which is illegal under US law, as "removing the entire fetus intact from a woman by dilating the cervix and then delivering the body through the birth canal."

"Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both," the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 read.

Daleiden told the Daily Mail that more footage about Planned Parenthood would be released in the future. His organization has posed an uncut version of the meeting on YouTube to dispel any allegations of selective editing.

"We have dozens of hours of shocking undercover footage with top-level Planned Parenthood executives and doctors that will be released in the coming days and weeks," Daleiden said.

However, a report from Snopes indicated that Daleiden may have connections to controversial activist reporter James O'Keefe, who is best known for exposing the practices of ACORN back in 2009. O'Keefe has been accused in the past of producing "egregiously misleading" and "severely edited" videos targeting agencies such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood.