When the first undercover video of Planned Parenthood officials operating the human equivalent of a Mexican border auto chop shop surfaced last week, Planned Parenthood was quick to point out that the doctor, Deborah Nucatola, didn’t actually sell parts:
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.
This is important because selling the parts would be illegal:
42 U.S.C. 289g-2(a) is the relevant federal statute and makes it unlawful for any person “to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.”
Let’s look at the transcript.
Buyer: When we were talking saying the $30-$100 price range is per specimen that were talking about, right?
PP: Per specimen. Yes.
PP: That’s basically the way that they do their work. The way they budget is bythe amount of time they spend on one patient. That’s one bunch of tissue, they handle the tissue, they do what they do, you know, in that way, so. But yea, that’s the way- It depends, if you’re expecting somebody to process, and package, identify tissue for you, it’s going to be at the higher end of the range. In all cases, it’s really gonna be about staff time, because that’s the only cost to the affiliate. And then, if you want space. For example, it is, it’s Novogenix is at PPLA, they have a corner of the lab. And they set up, come in with their coolers and everything, and handle all the tissue, but they’re taking up space, so I’m sure the affiliate considers that when they come up with what’s reasonable.
PP: That’s what they want to hear, they want to hear you basically say, other than taking up a little bit of space, this is going to be as low impact as possible, on you and your flow. You’re going to need a room, somewhere to consent the patients, once the patient is ready to be consented. So, you’re going to need space in the lab, you’re going to need a place to consent.
So what the buyer does is reimburse the clinic for the expense of doing patient consent, for the expense of the dismembering the infant, and a pro-rated cost share for the space they occupy in the lab. In other places Nucatola hinted that having the organ collector assume the role of consenting all patients would be a sweetener. So, in addition to paying for body parts the vendor is subsidizing Planned Parenthood staff and facilities. This is may or may not be legal, but it seems to be outside what the law contemplates.
Disposal of aborted babies is a huge problem for abortion clinics. Where ordinary medical waste can be steam sterilized and dumped in a landfill, aborted babies must me incinerated, sometimes to generate electricity.Regularly, we read of cases where the vendors decided the job was just too hard and decided to take shortcuts:
The pro-life group Repent America at StopStericycle.com wrote that in 2011, Stericycle was fined for illegally dumping aborted remains into a landfill:
Stericycle was also fined over $42,000 in 2011 after the company was found to be illegally dumping aborted babies into a municipal landfill in Austin, Texas with household and commercial garbage. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found Stericycle liable for “failure to prevent the disposal of treated fetuses at a municipal solid waste landfill” and “failure to comply with permit conditions.”
Stericycle came under fire last April in Oregon after the county commission discovered that the remains of aborted babies had been fueling the local power plant.
Nucatola offers the buyer a way of getting all the parts they want. By acting as the service to dispose of body parts.
PP: To them, this is not a service they should be making money from, it’s something they should be able to offer this to their patients, in a way that doesn’timpact them.
Buyer: Offsetting their costs.
PP: Right. No one’s going to see this as a money making thing. The other reason affiliates think this is a good thing is, it’s less tissue that they need to worry about,it’s taken care of. They have to do something with that tissue, it’s hard to find somebody that wants to do something with that tissue, so the fact that there’s somebody that’s looking for that tissue is-
Buyer: And that was a point we were looking into, what if, just taking that from them.
PP: That is such a huge service to them, and I just have to say time this came up on a national level, is there are issues with disposal of fetal tissue. Probably, the biggest company in the world that does this, is
Stericycle. Some anti-choice groups got the names of the board of directors forthose companies, and started coming to their houses, making them feel uncomfortable, stop picking up tissue. At the houses of the directors, of a waste management company basically, that just handles biological waste. And, I think that’s what’s started the conversations with affiliates because they’re like: “What am I supposed to do with this tissue?”
PP: Even if you could find a way to do that, can I just tell you? Even if there were people who weren’t donating, you’d have huge business just for taking the tissue. People would pay you. They would just say, “Take my tissue!” Then, you could only send off what you wanted to send off, but you would still have to consent the patients though. It’s just something to keep in the back of your mind.
Buyer: Yea, I was about to suggest that- I mean if it’s the situation of, you know, California, so let’s say Novogenix is paying $50 dollars per specimen, and we say we’ll do $60. “Oh, I don’t know, it seems a little sketch.”
PP: That makes it look fishy. Exactly.
Buyer: And so, they say, “Alright, well Novogenix is only taking, like, what? They took five samples yesterday-”
PP: Yea, we’ll take it all.
Buyer: Yea, what if we could take it all. That is the better way to negotiate about this.
PP: Yea, that’s gonna win your business. “We’ll take all of your tissue at the end of the day.”
Buyer: Right. So we’re bartering more about services, than money.
PP: Yes, and again, affiliates don’t – affiliates are not looking to make money by doing this. They’re looking to serve their patients and just make it not impact their bottom line. If anything, you can make it even better to their bottom line by giving them services in kind instead of money. I think a lot of them will take you up on that. That would definitely get people. Say, “I’ll give it to you for the same price, AND I’ll do that.”
PP: There’s gotta be all kinds of regulations that you can police, because you’re probably regulated environmentally, you’re regulated by OSHA, you’re regulated by the state department of health it’s just-
Buyer: It’s not easy.
PP: I’ve said well, can you partner with a hospital across the way- what’s the nearest hospital? They have to do something with their waste, they have surgical specimen’s and things, what are they supposed to do with everything? Eventually somebody will do it. Eventually it will all make sense. But, no, to take 18 liters of tissue, I mean what do you do at the end of the day? I guess you just ship off your tissue now?
Admittedly, it is not clear from this exchange whether this is happening. The idea seems fully formed enough in Nucatola’s mind to recommend that this potential vendor get in the business. From the organ vendor’s point of view, it makes sense:
If this does happen, then this is a clear and glaring violation of federal law. The expense of disposing of dead babies is a substantial burden on abortionists. If a company did this for free, then it would be providing a gift in exchange for the organs that was most assuredly not on minor or intrinsic value. It doesn’t take a cash transaction to qualify as a payment. When former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption, one of the charges was that a corporate executive had let McDonnell borrow his Ferrari.
While Planned Parenthood might not — and today’s video calls this into question — be involved in selling organs, per se, it is certainly skirting the law in numerous ways. By having vendor staff do the work of clinic staff in obtaining patient consent it is getting the value of that service. If an organ vendor is collecting fetal remains for the clinics this is a clear violation of federal law.