Planned Parenthood Ottawa is publicly complaining about a decrease in donations. Their president, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, has taken to Twitter and the media to complain that they have been targeted. "A small group who oppose health care for women and trans people have put unacceptable pressure on Planned Parenthood Ottawa's funders ... harassing them and threatening to expose them in the media," she says.
This is interesting, not the least of the reasons is "Why now?" Planned Parenthood supports abortion, yes, but this is not newly divisive. Pro-life versus pro-choice folks have been going at it for almost 30 years since the Supreme Court decided R v. Morgentaler, leaving Canada without any abortion law at all.
So, what could it be? Why specifically now would Planned Parenthood donations diminish? This a question they would rather let fade into obscurity.
On July 28, a group calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress began releasing an investigative sting operation into the practices of Planned Parenthood south of the border. Two actors posing as buyers of organs for research purposes got undercover video allegedly showing that Planned Parenthood in the USA engages in the sale of fetal hearts, livers, kidneys and heads ("calvarium") for profit.
The video evidence, all of which is available in full online, allegedly shows Planned Parenthood executives in different states discussing fetal organs with infinitely less concern than your auto mechanic discusses car parts. Planned Parenthood did a report assessing the videos, and their own analysis said first that "A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict," but also that they "did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation."
Quotes include one Planned Parenthood director, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, saying, "We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver... so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."
This while drinking a glass of wine and munching on a salad.
Additional videos show Planned Parenthood lab techs showing off bloody body parts -- little legs, hands, arms, to the actors posing as buyers, declaring when it was "another boy" or a twin. The discussion of financial benefits is frequent and forthcoming, with one Planned Parenthood exec saying "she wants a Lamborghini."
Federal law in the USA prohibits the sale of organs for profit, making this not merely morally problematic, but legally as well. Planned Parenthood USA gets a half a billion dollars (USD $528 million to be precise as per their most recent annual report) from the American federal government annually.
Needless to say, Planned Parenthood USA went into damage control mode. Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's Executive Director, said she regretted the tone of her staff and emphasized that Planned Parenthood doesn't profit by the sales.
Yet the grotesque videos -- this apparent display of callous indifference to women and their babies -- remain online. All but the most severe of ideologues can see that where fetal hearts are provided, still beating, for research purposes (yes, apparently this actually happens) we have a catastrophe on our hands.
In the States, Planned Parenthood could once argue their health services were indispensable to the poor. With the advent of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, this is no longer the case. When the Senate voted on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on August 3, even two Democrats crossed the floor to support it, in a country where abortion politics are even more divided than here.
That measure did not succeed, but others have. Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire, among others, have defunded the organization at the state level.
All this to say that under these circumstances, taking to Twitter and the media to ask for additional funding is a brazen move, the sheer chutzpah of which I applaud, one woman to another.
Yet while this scandal is not the only reason for the current calls to defund Planned Parenthood in the USA today, it certainly is the biggest. It is no great surprise therefore that this should spill over to affect an organization that shares the same name, though not the same practices, in Canada.
Planned Parenthood Ottawa can complain all they want, but so long as they share the name and legacy, they cannot rightfully expect anything different.
Are times ever so tough that the body parts of aborted fetuses should go up for sale?
Andrea Mrozek is the founder of ProWomanProLife.org
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