Why Planned Parenthood Can’t Donate Tissue Harvested From Babies

Why Planned Parenthood Can’t Donate Tissue Harvested From Babies

If you haven’t watched the damning videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue donation (or, in plain language, exchanging aborted babies’ body parts for money), you should watch them now before you read further.

The first alarming question is whether Planned Parenthood illegally sells aborted fetuses’ organs and tissue. This is what Planned Parenthood and its defenders have repeatedly focused on, insisting that they are compliant with all laws.

But it is what precedes that “fetal tissue donation” that needs attention. Specifically, does Planned Parenthood regularly flout the federal ban on partial-birth abortion using loopholes? How do they get away with this? Do their patients—the women who apparently choose to donate the “fetal tissue”—know what’s going on in explicit terms?

Federal law prohibits partial-birth abortion, a gruesome procedure in which an unborn baby is intentionally turned to the breech position to ensure that delivery of the body happens before delivery of the head. Once the baby’s head is stuck in the birth canal, the abortionist punctures the skull, evacuates the contents, and the baby is dead.

There’s a good reason this practice is banned—it’s barbaric. Many Americans may not know that the term “partial-birth abortion” is not a medical one but a legal one. And, according to Planned Parenthood doctor Deborah Nucatola, some abortion providers don’t consider it with any seriousness. In her own words, “It’s not a medical term, it doesn’t exist in reality.” What?

Why It’s Good to Give Babies a Heart Attack

It’s clear Nucatola thinks the law is irrelevant—or, as she says, up for “interpretation.” She explains how abortion providers get around the law by injecting a fatal quantity of digoxin, a cardiotoxic drug, into the baby’s heart before dismembering or delivering it. In Nucatola’s words, using the slang for digoxin, they “dig.” (Here’s the full footage of Nucatola and the transcript.)

Abortion providers get around the law by injecting a fatal quantity of digoxin into the baby’s heart before dismembering or delivering it.

She explains: “Providers who use digoxin use it for one of two reasons. There’s a group of people who just use it so they have no risk of violating the Federal Abortion Ban. Because if you induce a demise before the procedure, nobody’s going to say you did a ‘live’—whatever the federal government calls it. Partial-birth abortion.” The second reason providers use it is “because they actually think it makes the tissue softer and it makes it safer and easier to do the procedure.” She counts herself in the second group.

So, if you “dig,” you’re guaranteed a dead baby and a successful abortion without having to worry about the law. Moreover, you’ll find that a baby that has already died from a heart attack is apparently “softer” and easier to pull apart with metal instruments.

I wonder how candid Nucatola is with her patients about this process.

You Can’t Be Humane If You’re Extracting Baby Parts

Maybe digoxin seems humane to some—at least when compared to the primitive method of tearing a live baby apart in the womb. But unfortunately, that’s not the case when the abortions lead to Planned Parenthood’s “fetal tissue donation.”

These babies are being strategically maneuvered, crushed, and dismembered under ultrasound guidance—while still alive.

In the second video, we find out explicitly from Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter that abortions performed with feticides aren’t viable for fetal-tissue donation. If digoxin is used, it renders the fetal stem cells unusable. (See the footage and the transcript.) Knowing this, Nucatola’s graphic explanation of how to “crush” unborn babies to maximize organ retrieval requires a clarifier. These babies are being strategically maneuvered, crushed, and dismembered under ultrasound guidance—while still alive.

This poses an ethical question. Do the women consenting to fetal-tissue donation understand what’s happening during the procedure? Do they know that their babies are alive at the start of the butchering? A 2001 study showed that 91 percent of women in the study “preferred their fetuses were dead before the abortions.” How “informed” is their informed consent?

It also poses a legal question. Is Planned Parenthood breaking the law—whether in its procedures for “donating” fetal tissue or by altering abortion methods—in order to get better specimens? If so, stripping it of federal funding would be a half-measure.

If Planned Parenthood is not breaking the law, then we need to change the law. None of us, neither pro-life nor pro-choice, should support the types of practices Planned Parenthood abortion doctors casually discuss over lunch. You dig?

Katie Mumma Geary is a Princeton University graduate and the Canterbury Fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. She lives in Rochester, New York with her husband and their two children. The views expressed here are her own.
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