No stinger in sting video aimed at Denver Planned Parenthood – but it still left a political mark

No stinger in sting video aimed at Denver Planned Parenthood – but it still left a political mark

Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains is the latest target in a series of undercover videos shot by anti-abortion activists from the Center for Medical Progress. The Denver sting is the third in the past month meant to catch the reproductive-health nonprofit selling aborted fetal tissue — a practice that would be illegal if the organization were benefiting financially, which it is not.

PPRM Medical Director Dr. Sativa Ginde appears only briefly in the 12-minute video released Tuesday. The scene takes place in a Denver clinic as an actor posing as a buyer discusses payment for fetal tissue.

“That 11.6 was pretty good,” he says in the video, referring to an 11.6-week-old fetus. “There were like three or four samples we could have taken out of the 11.6.” He proceeds to tell Ginde that she could charge per specimen rather than a flat rate. She agrees, saying, “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” Then the video cuts to a lunchtime conversation with another Planned Parenthood doctor in California.

The activists behind the video have not released raw footage from the Denver ambush but told 9NEWS they will in coming days, along with a “summary video.”

On its website, CMP declares itself to be “a group of citizen journalists […] concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity.”

This 501(c)3 nonprofit was founded in 2013 by David Daleiden, a famous provocateur in the anti-abortion movement. Also listed as a CMP board member on the group’s registration filing in the state of California is Troy Newman — president of Operation Rescue, which ran a decades-long harassment campaign against Dr. George Tiller in Kansas that only ended after Tiller was murdered in a church in 2009.

Last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called on the IRS to investigate CMP for misrepresenting its planned activities when applying for tax-exempt status. “The Center asserted to the public, and apparently to the IRS, that it would engage in activities related to biomedicine or bioengineering, when it instead intended to vilify reproductive services providers in public communications,” the complaint reads.

A 501(c)3 is a tax designation meant for charities, not political operations.

Here in Denver, it’s worth noting that PPRM, like most Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, doesn’t currently have a fetal-tissue-donation program. From the highly edited video, the context of their conversation about tissue sales is unclear, but PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart issued a statement explaining that representatives from CMP’s fake company Biomax had approached the clinic about launching a program.

The accuracy of statements Dr. Ginde made on camera can’t be confirmed until the full, unedited version is released, she said. “To be clear, however, we are certain that no laws were broken.”

PPRM “firmly rejected” the fake biotech company’s sales proposals.  

Under federal law, it’s illegal to “knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration in interstate commerce.” But, the statute clarifies that “valuable consideration does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.”

So when Planned Parenthood sells human fetal tissue to a biotech vendor like the fake Biomax, the payment they receive is not profit — it’s reimbursement for the cost of transferring the tissue from the clinic to the medical facility that needs it for research. Scientists at major universities and government labs use the tissue for research into the causes and treatment of HIV, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and muscular dystrophy, among others.

A patient must give consent for her aborted fetus to be donated to science.

The portion of the video featuring Dr. Sativa Ginde starts around 9:45

These videos are at the center of a national push to de-fund Planned Parenthood that could be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate as early as Monday.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America currently receives $500 million annually from the federal government, none of which pays for abortions – except in the case of rape, incest or life threatening risk to the mother.

Eliminating the nonprofit’s funding would reduce access to services like STD testing, cancer screening and affordable birth control for the more than five million people Planned Parenthood currently serves.

 

Screenshot from “Human Capital – Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts” by Center for Medical Progress, fair use, via YouTube

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About the Author

Nat Stein

Nat Stein is a Denver-based reporter. Check out her other work at Cipher magazine, KRCC public radio, Jacobin magazine and In These Times.

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