"Planned Parenthood Sells Parts" Controversy

"Planned Parenthood Sells Parts" Controversy

Part of a series on Planned Parenthood. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jan 04, 2019 at 12:53PM EST by 3kole5.

Added Jul 16, 2015 at 12:58PM EDT by Ari Spool.

PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.


The Planned Parenthood Sells Parts controversy refers to a viral video and campaign by a pro-life organization called the Center for Medical Progress wherein actors, pretending to be medical professionals, secretly filmed a discussion with a Planned Parenthood employee where the employee appears to be suggesting that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts it extracts in partial-birth abortions. The video caused outrage in the pro-life community, however, multiple sources have claimed the video portrays a false situation by Planned Parenthood and thus is a hoax.[9][10][11] Despite this many this claim that Planned Parenthood is guilty of corruption, believing that it is not a hoax and still continue to investigate.


On July 14th, 2015, a pro-life organization called Center for Medical Progress posted two videos on YouTube, along with a lengthy exegesis on their web site,[1] detailing a meeting they paid two actors to have with Planned Parenthood doctor Deborah Nucatola. In video, the actors are pretending that they are approaching Planned Parenthood as medical professionals interested in beginning a transaction where they purchase body parts from partial birth abortions. Nucatola appears to nonchalantly explain a process by which this would be possible, while eating salad and having wine. The edited version also features news clips from older news stories about Planned Parenthood (below left). In two days, this video received almost 2 million views. The group also posted what they claim is an unedited version of the conversation (below right), which received 92,000 views in the same period.

The video had been filmed July 25th, 2014, and the Center for Medical Progress claimed that its release was the first in a series and the result of a three year investigation.


The act of sending paid right-wing undercover operatives to create videos against progressive targets was pioneered in 2009, after actor pretending to be a prostitute and pimp asked for tax advice from the federally-funded community group ACORN (below left). While ACORN claimed that the tapes were heavily edited in order to slander the organization, the tape elicited outrage from the right wing media like Fox News, and federal funding for ACORN was eventually cut.[2]

A similar campaign was conducted in 2011 against Planned Parenthood by the anti-abortion group Live Action, which sent actors pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute into a clinic to obtain an abortion for the pregnant woman (above right).[3]

Notable Developments

The videos were distributed widely throughout the right wing media on the day of their release, including many anti-abortion outlets like LifeNews.com and Fox News.[4][5] It was also written about on mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and Gawker.com.[6][7] Planned Parenthood soon addressed the video, accusing the Center for Medical Progress of trying to mount a misleading "sting" campaign against the medical provider. They also explained the conversation that was held from their point of view:

“At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health-care provider does -- with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards,” spokesman Eric Ferrero said. “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.”

Nonetheless, the hashtag #PlannedParenthood was trending nationally on July 14th and 15th, with almost 200,000 tweets.[8]

Tweets per day: #PlannedParenthood and Planned Parenthood June 16th July 16th 80K 70K 60K 50K 40K 30K 20K 10K 6/16 6/19 6/22 6/25 6/28 7/4 7/9 7/12 #PlannedP d 78,124 Planned Parenthood132,781 ANALYTICS BY

Additional Videos

Three weeks after the initial videos were released, pro-life organization Center for Medical Progress released more undercover footage regarding the trade of fetal tissue, as well as footage of the laboratories and the tissue within.

The organization is also preparing an episodic series of videos regarding the black market of fetus parts, with the first episode focusing on the Planned Parenthood clinics.

On July 16th, 2015, the official Planned Parenthood YouTube channel released an official video statement by the group's president Cecile Richards in response to the controversy, in which she denies the rumored allegations and claims that the group does not profit from fetal tissue donations.

Official Investigations

In the wake of the controversy, multiple official investigations[12] have been launched by the U.S. authorities, including the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committees and the Senate Health and Human Services committee, as well as the states of Indiana and Louisiana.[13] In addition, numerous Republican lawmakers have called for a federal investigation by the Justice Department, though the case still remains pending. On July 30th, the state of Indiana cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing following their investigation, while other state-level investigations are expected to fall short of any action against the group since Planned Parenthood performs abortions in select states only. On August 2nd, Republican senators Rand Paul and Joni Ernst introduced a bill to cut all federal fundings to Planned Parenthood, although it was stalled on the floor after the 53-46 procedural vote fell short of the 60 ayes needed to proceed.[14]

Colorado Springs Clinic Shooting

At around noon on November 29th, 2015, 52-years-old Kentucky resident Robert Lewis Dear allegedly opened fire outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado before entering the premise, where he then began a mass shooting that killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded at least nine people. After five hours of a standoff with the police, Dear surrendered and was taken into custody.

Following his arrest and subsequent police investigation, NBC News[15] reported that the suspect was quoted as saying "no more body parts" to investigators during interrogation, citing an anonymous law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case. While the perpetrator's motive still remains unknown and under investigation, his alleged mention of "body parts" was quickly picked up by other U.S. news media outlets in the context of the controversial video that went viral in July.


Most of the the investigations that resulted from the Center for Medical Progress's initial video tapes were closed without the grand jury issuing any indictments. However, in the state of Texas's investigation into the original incident, the Grand Jury decided to indict the two co-founders of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. The pair, who were attempting to accuse Planned Parenthood of selling body parts from aborted fetuses, were instead indicted for tampering government records, and attempting to purchase body parts, which is also illegal. The DA's office, which had intended to investigate Planned Parenthood, issued the following statement:[16]

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 23 total

Recent Images 6 total

+ Add a Comment

Comments (485)

Display Comments

Add a Comment

Hello! You must login or signup first!