Planned Parenthood is under fire from many Christian and conservative leaders after an ethics campaign group leaked a video showing an executive with the abortion organization discussing the sale of intact body parts of aborted babies to fetal tissue wholesalers.
The horrific video was secretly filmed last year by Center for Medical Progress (CMP) during a lunch with Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola. The video is part of a three-year investigation into what the CMP is calling "illegal" practices by Planned Parenthood. Once received by fetal tissue wholesalers, the body parts are shipped to universities, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies.
"Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs," Nucatola flippantly tells the undercover buyers in the video. "Some people want lower extremities, too, which, that's simple. That's easy. I don't know what they're doing with it, I guess if they want muscle."
She said: "I'd say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps."
Nucatola described managing the abortion process to preserve the foetal organs: "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 goes on to say that Planned Parent was "very, very sensitive" to suggestions that its clinics were "selling tissue". Asked for a price range, she said: "You know, I would throw a number out, I would say it's probably anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the facility and what's involved.
"It just has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there that's going to be doing everything . . . is there shipping involved? Is someone going to be there to pick it up?"
The end of the video urges viewers to "hold Planned Parenthood accountable for the illegal sale of baby parts."
Planned Parenthood has since responded to the video, claiming it "misrepresents the organization's work" as it may donate fetal tissue for use in stem cell research per the patient's permission. The group has also accused CMP of "deceptive editing" and said "there is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood."
However, the footage, which has been viewed over 1.2 million times on YouTube, has generated shock and outrage from Christian and Conservative leaders, who have called on Congress to investigate.
"Nothing is more precious than life, especially an unborn child," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement released on Tuesday. "When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child -- and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video -- we must all act. As a start, I have asked our relevant committees to look into this matter."
Boehner also urged President Obama to "denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he has ordered the state's health department to investigate "this alleged evil and illegal activity," while Jeb Bush called the video "a shocking and horrific reminder that we must do so much more to foster a culture of life in America."
Another Republican presidential hopeful, Dr. Ben Carson, wrote on Facebook, "What we learned today is the body part harvesting at Planned Parenthood is simply barbaric. It must stop and Congress must stand up. Join me in demanding that these practices STOP!"
Upon seeing the video, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote, "I was speechless for close to an hour."
Moore wrote in a blog post that he initially thought the video was a hoax until he confirmed its accuracy with pro-life leaders.
"If this does not shock the conscience, what will?" asked Moore. "It is not only that infants, in their mother's wombs, are deprived of their lives, but also that their corpses are desecrated for profit. This is not only murderous; it is murderous in the most ghoulish way."
Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also mourned the shocking revelation in a Facebook post: "Abortion is a sin and is clearly murder in God's eyes. The people who perform it have no conscience, so I'm not at all surprised that they would be selling organs, tissue, and body parts from babies. Planned Parenthood should be put out of business-they've done enough damage. Sin has an enormous price. Our nation will one day have to answer to God for the millions of innocent lives taken by abortion, and that applies to every politician who voted for and defended abortion. Thankfully though, no sin is too great for God's forgiveness-even murder."