By Libby Drerup McGaughey, Vice President of Public Advocacy, PPAM
An organization calling itself the Center for Medical Progress has released two videos based on what it says is the result of a three-year fraud “investigation” targeting tissue procurement at Planned Parenthood health centers. These videos are part of an ongoing, decade-long campaign of harassment against Planned Parenthood and our patients with the intent to end access to safe and legal abortion. Individuals affiliated with the anti-choice group Live Action created a fake company called Bio-Max and established a credible presence among abortion providers in order to establish trust within the Planned Parenthood community.
As our national president Cecile Richards stated in her video (available below) earlier this week, “Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.”
A Message From Cecile Richards:
We agree with Cecile, and recognize that the tone in the video was unacceptable. At Planned Parenthood, we take seriously violations of our high standard of care and respect for our patients. Employees who are found to have violated policy or the law are terminated. This is determined, through full investigation, on a case by case basis.
At some Planned Parenthood health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for lifesaving scientific research, and we do this just like other high-quality health care providers who are involved with or linked to biomedical research — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. Neither affiliate in Michigan is currently involved in procuring fetal specimens for research purposes, and presently do not have a plan to offer that option to our patients.
In the affiliates who do offer this option, there is no financial benefit for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood for tissue donation. In some instances, actual costs (such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research center) are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.
The bottom line is that a group opposed to Planned Parenthood’s mission and services is making false accusations about our participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research. These groups have made similar false accusations for years. They have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.
Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to you with opportunities for you to show your support of Planned Parenthood and the important work that we do. We thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood in Michigan and across the nation.
For more, The New York Times posted an Op-Ed that discusses the sting operation.