Here at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, we want to make sure you hear directly from us regarding an opposition attack that is unfolding, led by a group whose purpose is to damage Planned Parenthood's mission and services.
This group has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research. From information we have gathered so far, this has been a long-term opposition plan that started over three years ago. These individuals are affiliated with Live Action, another group whose mission is to destroy Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v. Wade.
As you watch the news of this situation unfold, here are the facts you need to know:
- PPMNS does not currently engage in any tissue donation for research. But such research is a crucial aspect of scientific inquiry, and is important to improving health care. There are 10 affiliates currently engaged in this practice and PPFA has standards and guidelines to provide a framework for this effort. The affiliates that participate in these programs do so just like every other high-quality health care provider — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. This type of research has been happening for decades and has led to important medical developments such as advances in the management of Parkinson’s and the invention of the polio vaccine. These donation programs are well within the law; in some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, is reimbursed which is standard across the medical field.
- There are politicians who have spent years trying to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood and they are involved in seizing on these false accusations to push their dangerous agenda. House Speaker John Boehner, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, and some others have announced investigations in Congress — more in a long series of orchestrated attacks with a single goal: to damage Planned Parenthood, ban abortion, and deny women the right to make their own medical decisions.
- Some opponents of abortion in Congress saw the video weeks ago. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, told CQ Roll-Call that he first saw the undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing fetal tissue and organs donations weeks before it was released. When CQ Roll Call asked him why he didn’t say anything, “Murphy struggled for an answer before abruptly ending the interview with CQ Roll Call, saying he should not be quoted and remarking, ‘This interview didn’t happen.’”
- The organization responsible for the video has ties to violent anti-abortion extremists. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman serves on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress. During this investigation Newman was an advisor to the group. [Christian Newswire, 7/14/15] Newman has a history of justifying the murder of abortion doctors and harassing clinic workers. In a 2003 press release, Newman defended Paul Jennings Hill, who murdered abortion doctor John Britton in Pensacola, FL, saying, “There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law.” Newman is also known for picking through clinic workers’ trash and trailing them from a distance to learn their routines and intimidate them. [Los Angeles Times, 2/17/04]
These efforts are, sadly, familiar to us because they are from the same people who have been working in a highly organized, well-funded fashion against Planned Parenthood and against a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.
As you can imagine, we are working to set the record straight against these false claims. We will keep you updated. A number of media outlets have published articles denouncing these claims. Here are links to a few of them in Cosmo, Media Matters, and TIME.
As always, thank you for standing with us as we continue our work on behalf of women.
Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota