_ An undercover video of a Planned Parenthood official talking about harvesting organs from aborted fetuses went viral Tuesday as the group denied it was selling body parts.
Republican GOP presidential candidates former Texs Gov. Rick Perry, La. Gov. Bobby Jindal, businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz all denounced Planned Parenthood and several demanded an investigation.
Members of the Center for Medical Progress, a little-known pro-life activist organization, had actors pose as biotech company officials and secretly videotaped Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, a year ago over lunch.
The video, first reported by Breitbart, a conservative news outlet, appears to detail how Planned Parenthood doctors will perform abortions in order to leave desired body parts, such as heart, liver and lungs intact for medical research.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” said Nucatola. “And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”
In disturbing detail Nucatola said, “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, 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.”
It is not clear from the video that the group is profiting from providing body tissues for research.
In a statement, Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications of Planned Parenthood Federation of America denied the group was selling body parts and said:
“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. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. 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.”
He went on to say that the Center for Medical Progress’ release was “a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.”
But Republican presidential candidates jumped on the issue with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry saying, “The video showing a Planned Parenthood employee selling the body parts of aborted children is a disturbing reminder of the organization's penchant for profiting off the tragedy of a destroyed human life.” Perry said that he had led the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas.
Jindal said the video was “shocking and gruesome” and that Planned Parenthood was trying to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans. “I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete.” He said he is also asking the FBI to assist the Department of Homeland Security in investigating any alleged criminal activity in harvesting body parts or performing partial birth abortions.
Cruz, a senator from Texas, said in a release, “Congress should immediately begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts, including who is obtaining them and what they are being used for. And it should renew efforts to fully defund Planned Parenthood to ensure that its morally bankrupt business receives not one penny of taxpayer money.”
And former business executive Fiorina said on Facebook, “I am proudly pro-life. I believe that every human life has potential and that every human life is precious. This latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn’t about ‘choice.’ It’s about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it’s about empowerment.”