It has been just a year since David Daleiden from the Center for Medical Progress began releasing videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for human fetal tissue and organs they procured through abortion.
The horror depicted in the 12 videos — each graphically and in a matter-of-fact manner — describe Planned Parenthood’s side business of harvesting parts, such as the liver, heart or skull of the child. While it is appalling, it is also illegal. The National Organ Transplant Act, passed in 1984, outlaws the sale of human organs.
While there was an uproar at the beginning, has anything changed as a result of this undercover work?
So far, Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest family planning provider) is doing business as usual, or perhaps better than usual.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s 2014-2015 report indicated that its affiliates performed 964,325 abortions in 2015, terminating the lives of unborn children through chemical and surgical abortion.
“With the delivery of 149.3 million sexual and reproductive health services in 2014, I am pleased to report that we remain on course to reach our target of doubling services between 2010 and 2015,” IPPF Director General Tewodros Melesse wrote in the report’s introduction. “Nearly one in two of our services was provided to a young person under the age of 25.” And through Planned Parenthood’s educational arm, 99 million young people completed its sex education program.
In the meantime, because of the outrage prompted by the videos, the 114th Congress voted eight times to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood, which would have pulled $450 million in federal assistance and prevented Medicaid recipients from getting reimbursed for their visits at Planned Parenthood clinics.
The Senate passed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act, with a 52-47 vote. On Jan. 8, 2016, President Barack Obama vetoed the bill.or
Since it was impossible at this point to get a federal law passed, 11 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin — enacted legislation to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. A broader set of actions have been taken by 24 states. However, in recent months, courts have blocked efforts to restrict access to care at Planned Parenthood in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Utah.
While the CMP maintains undercover footage that could shed more significant light on the issues, it has been prevented to do so due to a gag order from the federal court in San Francisco. While CMP appealed to the Supreme Court to block a lower court’s order requiring it to release the names of its donors, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denied the appeal.
In January of this year, a grand jury indicted Daleiden on a felony count of making and using a fake driver’s license and a misdemeanor charge for emailing an offer to buy fetal tissue for $1,600. He faced a prison sentence of up to 22 years if convicted. He rejected a plea deal. All charges have been dismissed.
After further investigation, the attorney for Planned Parenthood admitted he pressured the Harris County District Attorney’s office to refocus a grand jury investigation away from Planned Parenthood and onto David Daleiden. The district attorney admitted that no investigation of Planned Parenthood ever took place.
The same grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. The CMP said it had done nothing wrong in investigating Planned Parenthood, noting it “uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press and follows all applicable laws.”
Bottom line: Planned Parenthood is still funded. (The Obama administration has warned officials in all 50 states that actions to end Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood may be out of compliance with federal law.)
Planned Parenthood is still the largest abortion provider in the United States, killing almost 180,000 babies in the U.S. so far this year.
While we know more about the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood, and the U.S. Congress Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has uncovered a growing list of evidence that abortion facilities have violated federal laws, it is business as usual at Planned Parenthood.
Makes you mad, doesn’t it?
Chris Codden is director of the Office of Marriage and Family of the Diocese