Viral Planned Parenthood Video Is a Lie & Here's Why (VIDEO)

There's a video claiming Planned Parenthood makes money off fetal body parts from abortions they conduct. The Center for Medical Progress out of Irvine, California, sent two undercover actors to record the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, talking to them about the procurement of fetal tissue. The three-hour conversation was heavily edited and condensed into an eight-minute clip that's been making the rounds and causing people to get outraged by what they think Planned Parenthood is doing.


These types of undercover "sting" videos are not uncommon, especially for an organization like Planned Parenthood, which provides affordable and accessible reproductive health care. Others have done similar things, pretending to be patients while taking hidden video. But this video particularly hits home for me because the doctor at the center of it all, Deborah Nucatola, is a longtime friend. We didn't meet via reproductive health, but rather through a shared love of music. Yet, as someone invested in reproductive justice, I have always looked up to Deb and the work she does. I've always been incredibly proud of her and what she's accomplished, and that hasn't changed one bit in light of this video.

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Here's the thing. The release of the video -- regardless of how manufactured for shock value -- is not going to prevent people from needing and seeking out reproductive health care, including abortions. If anything, it might tighten restrictions on abortion access even more, and for unfounded reasons at that, causing women to go underground or outside the country to terminate a pregnancy. It's easy to tug at people's heartstrings with fake claims like, "Planned Parenthood makes money off dead babies!!" Unfortunately, not everyone will take the time to watch the full three hours of footage or read the accompanying transcript -- a transcript that makes clear that Deb made sure to note that this is tissue donation, that it only takes place at the patient's request/consent, and that whatever money exchanges hands has to do with administrative costs ranging from $30 to $100. This is not some moneymaking scheme that Planned Parenthood has been masterminding, not at all. And in fact, nothing Planned Parenthood does in this regard is illegal, despite the claims from many people who think otherwise.

The radical conservatives who put this out don't care about that. They care about the lives of the babies. But what happens when those babies are born? They don't seem as passionate about ensuring the newborns have government support then. And what about the people who care so much about the lives of unborn fetuses that they go to such great lengths to harass a doctor who was lied to and had her words manipulated? How do death threats fit into the pro-life mindset?

I know about clinic bombings and shootings. About the domestic terrorist attacks on health-care providers. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned for my friend's safety. And all because there is a faction of the country that still believes that women should not have ownership and autonomy over their own bodies. These people will go to any lengths and any means to ensure that their side is heard, regardless of truths or actual facts. Despite the backlash I've already received and am sure will see again, I continue to stand by my friend Dr. Deborah Nucatola, and with Planned Parenthood. I appreciate and respect the work they do, and support them in it.


Image via © Alex Milan Tracy/Demotix/Corbis

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