See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has ordered an investigation of Planned Parenthood and moved to block the organization from building a reproductive health-care facility after anti-choice activists released a video that they claim proves that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal organs.
The video is alleged to show Planned Parenthood Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing the sale of human tissue with actors posing as buyers from a biological company. Nucatola never explicitly talks about selling organs in the video. Advocates have objected to the video’s content, which they note is inaccurate and misleading.
“Today’s video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome,” Jindal said in a statement Tuesday.
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Planned Parenthood cleared an administrative hurdle last month toward the construction of the Center for Choice, a clinic that would expand access to abortion in the New Orleans area, after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals rescinded regulations that may have prevented it from opening such a facility.
“This same organization is seeking to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans. I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete,” Jindal said.
Planned Parenthood of Louisiana has not been implicated in the video or any of the activities that are alleged to have taken place, and Planned Parenthood does not yet operate abortion clinics in Louisiana as of yet.
Planned Parenthood Louisiana State Director Melissa Flournoy said the organization is committed to completing the new health center in New Orleans and providing the full range of reproductive health care.
“Make no mistake: This health center will open, and Planned Parenthood will do everything we can to provide care for the women and men of Louisiana who rely on us,” Flournoy said. “The focus of Planned Parenthood’s work in New Orleans for the past 31 years has been to improve the health of the people of New Orleans by providing high-quality, affordable health care and age-appropriate, medically accurate sexual health education and information. We believe that people of this community and across Louisiana deserve access to preventive care, including access to contraception and accurate sexual health information.”
Louisiana lawmakers have in recent years aggressively sought to restrict reproductive rights in the state, and have successfully passed legislation to restrict access to abortion care. Jindal has often claimed Louisiana as the “most pro-life state” in the country. He recently touted state lawmakers’ efforts to that end at the National Right to Life Convention held last week in New Orleans.
The video Jindal referenced was produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an organization that describes itself as a group of “citizen journalists” who are dedicated to “monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.” The organization opposes “interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings.”
The video, the Center for Medical Progress claims, is part of a 30-month investigation by its Human Capital Project (HCP).
David Daleiden, the project leader for HCP, has a longtime association with Live Action, an anti-choice organization that has repeatedly targeted Planned Parenthood with similar undercover video recordings. Daleiden was a reporter and director of research for Live Action for five years, according to reporting by Breitbart.
Planned Parenthood’s spokesperson Eric Ferrero said in a statement after the video’s release that patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases.
“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,” Ferrero said. “There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. 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.”