Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Response To “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You F****** Idiots.”

When Skepchick Rebecca Watson wrote her now viral post on the Planned Parenthood scandal, no one had to guess which side she was defending or what she thought of the pro-life crowd. The article is worth considering – not because she's right, but because what is presented as fact is so woefully wrong in so many ways.

As I respond to her arguments, I will be quoting the shortened blog version of the video that she posted on her website. A lot of what I have to say will challenge her claim that nothing illegal is happening. The rest will hopefully point out why it shouldn't be legal in the first place.

Planned Parenthood is in the news a lot these days thanks to a maliciously edited video making it look like they SELL BABY PARTS.

First, the Center for Medical Progress released the uncut video along with the edited one. All anybody has to do – including all the journalists and bloggers who keep repeating this silly charge - is watch the whole video or read the transcript CMP provides on its website. If CMP were trying to deceive, they would have kept the uncut video a secret.

Second, if you think the edited videos makes it ‘look like’ Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts, just watch the videos and see for yourself. You will hear the following:
  • "We don’t want to get called on…selling fetal parts across states.”
  • “If you have someone in a really ‘anti’ state doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught.” Get caught at what? Obeying the law?
  • “I think a per item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”
  • “I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit, they just don’t want to—they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.” Every business would like to do a little better than break even. That's called profit. It's probably worth noting that In 2014, Planned Parenthood's revenue exceeded their expenses by $90 million.
  • “The Federal Abortion Ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation.”
  • “Here’s the heart. My fingers will smoosh it if I try to pick it up. The heart is right there… A lot of times I‘ll get a full torso, spine, kidneys. You could send the whole thing or pick that apart… It’s a baby.” There's the baby parts. 
  • “If someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then they [the babies] are intact…” Which is good for those clients who want intact babies. 
If you think I am trying to trick you or I am ripping quotes out of context, please go watch the videos or read the transcripts.


It’s weird for those of us with two brain cells to rub together, that this is even a thing. Because first of all, obviously Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell BABY PARTS. J**** f****** C*****, get a hold of yourselves. Baby parts!

In all the videos released so far, “fetal tissue” is described as livers, kidneys, lungs, brains, etc. If you see the third, fourth and fifth videos, you can see with your own eyes the body parts on the trays. You can watch them pick up legs with a tweezers and say, “It’s a boy!” So. Yeah. I have gotten a hold on myself and those are definitely body parts. 

Are they selling them? Well that’s the question, isn’t it? That what an investigation will determine. Sure, the Planned Parenthood officials spend plenty of time insisting they follow the protocols and standards, but it’s during the unguarded moments that we learn the most.

  • they are okay with making more than reimbursement
  • they want to know what others are charging so they don’t get lowballed
  • they want to sell by the organ (read “baby part”) because they can make more money than if they sell everything they harvest from a baby at the same time
  • they have to be careful which states they do this in because they don’t want to get caught in hostile states
  • the legal oversight about documenting actual expenses is almost non-existent
  • You find out the specimen and tissue sales in Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s affiliate "contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here."
  • the brochure CMP posted shows StemExpress trumpeting the lucrative nature of the financial partnership they offer. 
  • In the fifth video, some people at the Gulf Coast affiliate are puzzled as to why other clinics think what they are doing at Gulf Coast is illegal.

That one brain cell I apparently have is sufficient to put all these things together and conclude there is legitimate justification to open an investigation on whether or not they are doing more than breaking even.

3% of all Planned Parenthood’s activities are abortions, and more than 90% of those are in the first trimester when it’s about size of a kidney bean, so they do see some pieces of fetal tissue. Which are just going to be thrown away in the garbage, but which the patient can instead choose to donate to important medical research.

If 3% of the time I killed children, would what I did the other 97% of the time matter? Does anybody who is angry at the lion-poaching dentist care what he does with the rest of his time? Nope and nope. It’s a silly defense. It’s not that it’s only 3% of the time that matters- it’s what happens in that 3%. Also, just for the sake of clarifying how important abortion is to the Planned Parenthood enterprise, the 3% accounts for around 25% of abortions in the United States and  51% of Planned Parenthood’s income results from those abortions. Half their income is because of abortion. When 3% of your business makes 51% of your income, that’s called a money maker. 

As to the first trimester: if the unborn baby is human being, it doesn’t matter how big he or she is. The fetus at any stage is what a human being is at that stage of development, as is the case with people who have been born. Born people don’t lose their rights because they are small or gain rights because they get big. Neither should unborn people. #samerights


HOW DARE THEY! How dare Planned Parenthood allow women to aid in the research and treatment of conditions like H.I.V. and Parkinson’s disease, when instead those women could just be throwing that tissue in the garbage!

First, if organ donors die, their organs go to the medical community because they willing offered their organs in case of a tragedy. Everyone applauds their altruism. But if a doctor kills those organ donors without their permission and then gives their organs to the medical community, that’s an entirely different scenario. No one applauds. Donating the bodies of aborted babies falls into the latter scenario. 

Second, aborted babies are not necessary for lifesaving research. Adult stem cells are yielding phenomenal results, and nobody dies. Just because something good has at some point come from something terrible is not a good reason to argue that something terrible should continue.


So yeah, there’s the fact that Planned Parenthood obviously isn’t “selling baby parts.” And then there’s the fact that the group releasing this video are some of the same people who worked for the group Live Action, which is best known for…editing together misleading videos attacking Planned Parenthood.

It’s obvious that they are receiving money for baby parts either legally through reimbursement or illegally through profitable payments or other benefits. The unanswered question is whether or not it is happening legally - and it appears that is not always the case. Watch the videos.

And who cares whom the CMP worked for? It’s irrelevant to the footage. Had they only released edited videos, the accusation of deviously deceptive tactics might have some merit. But – once again – they released the full videos. You can watch them and decide what to conclude. 

So despite the fact that this is an obviously made up and ridiculous accusation, actual politicians are taking it seriously. If you live in the US, your tax dollars are now going toward Congressional Republicans calling for a formal investigation, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced they’ll launch a probe. A probe for baby parts! Good luck, guys!

I am not aware that Planned Parenthood is denying that these ‘ridiculous’ conversations happened. They aren’t contesting the quotes or the activities that were ‘obviously made up’. They are just claiming that they have been deceptively edited to make legal activities look illegal.

But the latest video has just added to the question of whether or not Planned Parenthood is operating within the law. In the most blatant statement yet, Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Melissa Farrell noted that when researchers need a specific part from the aborted baby,“We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that… some of our doctors in the past have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen.”

The probe isn't about baby parts (which are right there on the videos. Watch the videos. That would be the shortest investigation ever). It's about whether or not Planned Parenthood is breaking the law by altering the timing or method of abortions for the sake of collecting tissue - as Ms. Farrell just stated that they do. So who is correct? That's what an investigation would decide.


This all reminds me of a course I took in college on heresy. I remember learning about how multiple times throughout human history, various groups of people have been accused of the very specific act of gathering together and hosting orgies, and then taking the resulting babies from any past orgies and burning them into ashes, which are then formed into cakes, which are then eaten. Usually it’s supposed to be the Jews doing this but plenty of other marginalized groups have been accused as well. And it always baffled me to think that people could really, truly believe that their fellow humans were doing something so obviously stupid and made up.

"Believe' in this context suggests something along the lines of 'making something up they want to be true.'  Yet there is that pesky footage of actual conversations and situations. Once again, no one is contesting the content. At most they are challenging the editing or the interpretation of the content.

If they are so falsely maligned, one would think they would encourage people to see the unedited videos for themselves. It should provide the vindication they need. Instead, the PR firm Planned Parenthood hired is distracting and deflecting to the point of apparently faking a hack of Planned Parenthood's website. Considering the lawsuits and the request for media not to cover the story, I don't think they are pleased. I don't blame them. Over the course of these four videos, Planned Parenthood is doing the following by their own admission:

  • altering abortion procedures so as to harvest more organs, including apparently doing some form of partial-birth abortion (at least that's sure what the description sounds like in the first video)
  • occasionally having babies coming out intact (born) before they can get there to do the abortion and harvest organs
  • harvesting their organs, apparently even from those who came out intact (born) - which makes one wonder how that all worked out.
  • passing them on to companies like StemExpress that promise financial benefits
  • talking about it in a way that reflect their concern of getting caught in certain states
  • hoping at minimum to make a little extra and at maximum to maximize their profit by selling by the organ instead of by the specimen


Well, now it’s 2015 and an organization that is mostly responsible for making sure poor women have access to basic medical care including cancer screenings, checkups, and birth control, are accused of convincing women to abort their babies and then tearing them into parts and selling them on the black market.

First, the fact that they offer basic medical care does not justify killing babies.

Second, the claim about cancer screenings is dishonest. They offer a manual breast exam which women can do on their own. According to their website, they then "connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds, and mammograms." In other words, they don't do those things for the patients. They send them to someone who does. The Federalist notes, "Planned Parenthood does not manage a single licensed mammography facility in the U.S. Not one. Of the 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in America, Planned Parenthood operates exactly zero." They offer access to basic medical care, but not nearly as much as Community Health Centers, which help far more women and don't do abortions. 

Oh, and they do tear the babies into parts - except when the have 'intact fetal cadavers'. 


And I realize, that if it helps you achieve your goals — whether they be persecuting people of a different faith or cutting funding for poor women’s health care …

Because pro-lifers want to hurt poor women’s health, right? That’s the whole reason they struggle to defend the life of the unborn. It has nothing to do with biological or philosophical arguments that defend the humanity of the unborn. It has no connection to a religious commitment to protecting innocent life. They just hate the poor - specifically women. Of course, the Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood wouldn't have actually taken money away from women's health. All federal funding would have been sent to federally qualified community health centers. The bill would have diverted funding, not cut it.

…it becomes surprisingly easy to believe something unbelievable.

Or increasingly hard to ignore something horrible. 


  1. Oh, Anthony. CMP spends years creeping around and taping everything they can, and the strongest evidence of misconduct they can come up with is a few quotes that actually do appear quite reasonable in context? Honestly, it's a bit sad.

    Do you feel good about the style of argument you're using here? I mean:

    "Get caught at what? Obeying the law?"

    No, Anthony, get caught saying or doing things that can be taken out of context and used to attack Planned Parenthood. Obviously. A concern which is clearly justified.

  2. Or, "CMP spends years doing undercover journalism." As you know, it's a form of journalism with a long tradition (

    As for the evidence, have you watched the videos, edited or unedited, or read the transcripts online? There's a reason Planned Parenthood and StemExpress are scrambling: this is a PR disaster, and they don't want the general public to see their actions in the clinic, hear their conversations, or observe their attitudes. They've gone so far as to apparently fake hacking their website in hopes of deflecting the story. That's not the response of an organization with nothing to hide.

    However, I realize we disagree. I chose actual quotes and summarized conversations, then encouraged you or any others to go check for yourself by watching the videos and deciding whether or not I am taking them out of context. You are welcome to do so.

    1. Undercover journalism is fine, but I have more respect for journalists when they go undercover to discover a story rather than to create one. Reading the transcripts its pretty obvious when the actors are trying to manipulate the conversation to get their target to give them a nice juicy phrase they can pull out to get people excited.

      As for the evidence, yes, I've read large sections of the transcripts - several pages before and after the popular quotes, anyway, which is more than most people. That's how I found out that in their proper context the quotes are pretty innocuous. It's easy to pull out quotes that make someone look bad. Did you know that Jesus thought women were as worthless as dogs and came to Earth to start wars?

      I'm curious as to whether you have any evidence that this is a "PR disaster" in the sense that it has actually changed anyone's opinion about anything. I have seen a number of people say that IF it turns out that PP is breaking the law then there should be consequences for the leadership, but the credibility of this kind of smear campaign is so low among reasonable people that I haven't seen a single pro-choice or neutral person who thinks it's actually likely that there was criminal activity.

    2. Steve, I have to reply twice because apparently I am too wordy (I can't post my full response).

      I would counter that the story was created when the Planned Parenthood representatives stated what they were not only willing to do but what they wanted to do. Of course the interviewers ask leading questions. That's hardly unusual. They wanted to make sure certain issues were talked about. Still, nobody forced the PP reps to to agree with them, right? They could have absolutely shut the conversation down. They did not. This was not new conversational territory for Planned Parenthood.

      You say again that I am taking quotes out of context but have not yet shown me how any of the quotes I used (or summaries I offered) have done a disservice to what was said. If you can show me what specifically I have misrepresented, I am open to correction.

    3. As for PR, its not that there is currently a large shift in public opinion happening right now (according to the only poll I found, there’s not). It's that stories the pro-life community has known for years are now going to circulate to a wider audience.

      First, stories from former PP doctors or directors who show what happens behind the scenes. These stories aren’t about things that are necessarily illegal, but they show a side of the industry PP would prefer remain hidden. Read articles here ( here ( here ( and here ( Former director Abby Johnson ( claims that "the whole premise behind being a family planning clinic is to get woman on a contraceptive method that will eventually fail them. We know that 54 percent of women having abortions were using contraception at the time they got pregnant...We had an abortion quota.”

      Second, that claim the PP clinics are a crucial linchpin for women’s health is going to be exposed as false. National Review Online had a symposium entitled, "If Planned Parenthood Goes, Where Do Women Go?" Regardless of what you think of NRO, the people writing for the symposium are qualified in the field, which is easily seen on the website. What we learn is interesting (all info from the symposium writers at
      • local, government - funded community health centers significantly outnumber Planned Parenthood nationwide (9,000 vs.700 in the United States). In Nevada alone, there are 3 PP clinics (all in big cities) vs. 52 community health centers (including in small towns). The CHC's offer for free things for which PP charges, and they offer a much wider range of services. As a side note, the recent attempt of Congress to defund PP would have shifted the money to other federally funded places such as CHC. CHC’s see 21 million patients per year vs. PP’s 2.7 million. They do 1.7 million pap tests vs. PP’s 378,000. 424,000 mammograms vs. PP’s 0 (that info from
      • According to the Guttmacher Institute, 90 percent of the 8,409 “safety-net health centers” at which taxpayer-funded family-planning services were provided in 2010 were places other than Planned Parenthood.

      As for breaking the law, the videos clearly record that they alter procedures (such as the first video revealing the details of the illegal ‘partial birth abortion’ being used as one way to alter the procedure). PP claims it’s all a misunderstanding. I expect them to say no less. But it’s not just the videos that offer reasons to be suspicious. It’s PP’s history. Several years ago, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (which has been featured in the series) was charged with billing the government for medical services never actually provided and/or were not medically necessary. In August 2013, Planned Parenthood agreed to pay a $4.3 million settlement in the case. There’s a legitimate reason to wonder what else they are billing for that is illegal. This is worthy of an investigation.

  3. It's almost funny how often they implicate themselves while scrambling to do the opposite. So "Planned Parenthood is not selling baby parts"...admitting that that would be terrible.

    1. Of course they're not selling "baby parts"; they only sell "fetus parts"! smh

      Judgment is coming.

  4. Baffled at "taken out of context" argument, as if there is any context where this is ok. Honestly, I am so overwhelmingly sad that human organs can be sold off in parts like a butcher at market selling cuts of meat, and instead of being horrified people are defending it, I just don't even know what to say. "Tissue" "specimen"....any other terms to distance ourselves from clearly HUMAN parts, how much denial do you have to be in? Blargh, if this PP behind the scenes exposure doesn't open eyes, I think nothing will. Thanks for taking the time to research and give a defense, Anthony.

  5. Evil people will hardly ever admit what they are doing is wrong these people live in darkness they hate the light of truth

  6. I don't have time to write up a response to each of the quotes you pulled out, but fortunately someone else did: a pro-life blogger named Christina Dunigan has written several posts contrasting the edited video with the full version. You can read her summary, with links to her other posts on the topic here: I'll give you a hint about her take on it: she starts out with a C.S. Lewis quote that goes, "Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true...".

  7. Good link, Steve. I agree with her main point – there is plenty of evil in the world without the need to go looking for something that does not exist. She states pretty strongly that far too much is being made of these videos, and her blog (which basically chronicles the stories of women who die from getting botched abortions from Planned Parenthood) shows that Planned Parenthood does not need to be breaking the law to deserve our ire. So let’s look at what she has to say. After reading a number of her posts on this issue, and I have several observations.

    Your link was to her review of the first video. She clearly believes at that point that the edited video was deceptive on two key claims: - that the doctor in question performs partial-birth abortions to get the organs, and that she sells the organs for profit. At this point the broader question of altering abortion procedures was not mentioned. However, as the series of 5 videos unfolded, her conclusions changed.

    She says of the second video, “Dr. Gatter has put her foot firmly into her mouth on two counts: willingness to try to talk a Planned Parenthood doctor into helping her break the law, and extreme callousness.”

    In her review of video #3, her conclusion is this: “In this third video, I think that the Center for Medical Progress has caught Dr. Ginde engaged in conspiracy to profiteer from fetal tissue.”

    Her final verdict after watching the most recent video (#5) was this: “Aborting live fetuses and harvesting their organs: Possible but not verified. Modifying abortion techniques to harvest organs: Confirmed to the point of willingness to increase patient risk. Profiteering: No evidence.”

    By her count, there is so far conspiracy to profit and willingness to break the law; possible abortion of live fetuses; confirmed willingness to increase patient risk by modifying abortion techniques. When seen as a group of videos rather than isolating what is seen on one, the evidence for believing Planned Parenthood is breaking the law continues to mount.

  8. the moral issue of our time. Well done Anthony
    My prayer is that the unmasking of PP will change people's hearts