The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) made big news in 2015 when it released videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s (PP) involvement in the sale of body parts from aborted babies. Journalists from the organization had spent two-and-a-half years filming undercover footage and gaining source documents showing abortion industry executives describing the procurement and sale of fetal body parts to sell to researchers. They called their exposé, “Human Capital.”
Viewers with a conscience were horrified to see footage, such as that of Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing the collection and sale of lungs, livers and the lower extremities from aborted infants, all the while picking at a salad and sipping red wine. The abortionist, who was at the time Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, spoke to journalists posing as buyers from a company looking to procure parts and tissue from aborted babies.
As a result of publishing the videos, CMP and undercover investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged in Texas and California with crimes such as using a false driver’s license to defraud another person and criminal recording of conversations. The Texas charges were dropped, while California re-filed 15 amended felony charges in 2017. That case is ongoing.
Planned Parenthood piled on as well, filing a civil lawsuit alleging that CMP, Daleiden, Merritt and others “engaged in illegal conduct that includes violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act) and engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording, and trespassing.” Groups like Liberty Counsel, Thomas More Society and Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund are among those defending CMP, Daleiden and Merrit in this case.
Despite the big news CMP made in 2015, major media outlets have focused little attention on the civil jury trial, which has taken place over the past month in San Francisco Federal District Court. Planned Parenthood is seeking $20 million dollars in damages. Searches of internet news and of specific websites such as CBS, The New York Times and The Washington Post found no mainstream news coverage of the trial. Christian, pro-life and conservative news outlets have followed the proceedings.
Judge William H. Orrick, who is presiding over the case, has not allowed most of the CMP videos to be shown. Still, the testimony seems to confirm what CMP discovered, that Planned Parenthood was involved in the sale of baby body parts to groups that use the tissue for research. Whether payments were reimbursement for expenses or illegal profits is another question.
Here’s some of what has come out in the trial:
- Mary Gatter, former medical director of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA), who was seen in one video saying she wanted a Lamborghini, admitted during cross-examination that she made this statement while discussing pricing for fetal tissue. She said she was joking about the car, making a lighthearted comment.
- Gatter also conceded that PPLA did not comply with Planned Parenthood for America’s guidelines for fetal tissue reimbursement and said all the recorded comments were in public places at a conference.
- Judge Orrick did allow four minutes of Dr. Nucatola’s videotaped restaurant conversation where she “described using ultrasound guidance to flip a baby in the womb to feet-first breech position, in order to extract the baby intact and harvest whole, fresh organs.” Dr. Nucatola testified that she thought the video content was “no big deal” and saw nothing inappropriate in her remarks.
- Linda Tracy is founder and president of Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), which has partnered with Planned Parenthood affiliates to harvest fetal tissue since 1989. On the witness stand, she first said that she didn’t discuss pricing for fetal tissue at National Abortion Federation conferences. Her taped deposition told a different story, as she admitted discussing pricing of baby body parts. According to CMP, her organization brings in $1.1 to $1.5 million a year from the sale of aborted fetal organs and tissues.
The defense in the civil trial was allowed to show footage of an ABC News 20/20 report hosted by Chris Wallace in March 2000. The video, “Parts for Sale,” had hidden camera investigations of aborted fetuses being marketed for hundreds and thousands of dollars. Daleiden and Merritt’s defense team noted that the same type of undercover video recordings were used in that 20/20 report as in this current case. Daleiden said the report inspired him to found the Center for Medical Progress and continue the investigation “since nothing had been done since ABC’s segment first aired.”
The trial wraps up with closing arguments November 12. We’ll see if the mainstream media gives the story any coverage, but they seem loathe to report stories that show the reality of the avaricious and destructive abortion industry.