Cecile Richards is trapped.
The president of Planned Parenthood, responsible for the lion’s share (40 percent) of America’s abortions, has had to personally respond to the undercover video released this week by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress. The video, for those still unknowing, shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, discussing donation of “fetal tissue” while out to a gourmet lunch with pro-life activists posing as buyers from a biomedical company.
Nucatola, an abortionist herself, describes how she and her fellow abortion practitioners at Planned Parenthood use what sounds like the legally banned partial-birth abortion procedure to collect and sell the intact body parts of aborted children, including hearts, lungs, liver, and heads.
Miming the opening and closing of forceps, Nucatola explains: “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.”
The video has prompted at least five states and the Congress to announce investigations into Planned Parenthood’s dealing in organ trafficking. Are their abortionists altering the procedure to yield a better harvest? Are Planned Parenthood affiliates making profits from the “specimens” they collect? Both are illegal under federal law.
Regardless of the outcome of the congressional and state probes, Richards’ terse video response to the scandal is revealing.
Richards begins her defense with statistics, asserting that Planned Parenthood provides “cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and abortion.” According to their own most recent annual report, from 2013 to 2014, most of these services are in decline. Except, of course, abortion.
Planned Parenthood’s cancer prevention services are down 17 percent over the year, and even contraceptive services – Planned Parenthood’s supposed bread and butter – dropped by 4 percent. Richards completely fails to mention adoption referrals and prenatal care services. This suggests they are prepared, at long last, to end the charade and embrace the fact that abortions make up more than 90 percent of their pregnancy services (94 percent in 2013).
Not that America’s #1 abortion peddler was doing much business in these other areas to begin with: For every adoption referral in 2013, Planned Parenthood performed 174 abortions. In comparing the two most recent annual reports, while abortions rose, adoption referrals dropped 14 percent, and prenatal care services dropped 4 percent.
All facts and statistics aside however, Planned Parenthood still props itself up as a compassionate care provider and friend to women and girls across America. That pressure must be what pushed Richards to go so far as to then state: “In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.”
She apologized. Cecile Richards apologized. She apologized for the tone one of her staff members (the billion-dollar-a-year organization’s chief of medicine) used.
Here’s the remarkable thing. If Planned Parenthood says its actions are perfectly legal, why bother apologizing for tone? Nucatola is only talking about tissue, after all. Products of conception. Clumps of cells.
Oh wait, those clumps of cells are actually small livers, hearts, kidneys, and brains.
This is the quandary which has led to some of the more interesting moves by abortion apologists in the last few years.
In 2013, Planned Parenthood released its “Not in Her Shoes,” video, as part of a failed campaign to label abortion as a nuanced, “complicated,” “personal choice.” “Don’t let the labels box you in. Have a different conversation. A conversation that doesn’t divide you but is based on mutual respect and empathy,” says the calming narrator. That’s a far cry from Obvious Child, the so-called “abortion-comedy” praised by Planned Parenthood last year. This desire to break down the “stigma” of abortion has driven many of the op-eds, videos, and sympathetic magazine spreads of women who portray their abortion stories as no big deal.
But Richards’ apology signals yet another change in course. She cannot hide behind the tired euphemisms of “choice” any longer and right now she knows it. Not in the face of a viral video featuring her own staff speaking with such brutal, shocking candidness. She is trapped and she knows it. Some truths are just too big to stick behind a pretty phrase.