Local Planned Parenthood denounces new video showing talk of selling fetal tissue

The anti-abortion group which posted video of Planned Parenthood officials talking about fetal parts for sale shot some of its video at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Denver. Such tissue may be used for research upon permission of a donor. It cannot be sold for profit.

That controversial video was released Tuesday morning via the Center for Medical Progress website.

The group says it shows the medical director of the local Planned Parenthood talking to an alleged buyer about fetal tissue for sale, while both are looking at specimens on a glass plate.

The alleged buyer told Dr. Savita Ginde, “You could start a neural cell culture from this neural tissue right here.”

Ginde asked, “Would someone want that?

The alleged buyer replied, “Oh yeah, someone would. This is definitely… neural tissue that people could take, and look,  and you see how it’s still connected through the spinal cord back there.”

Pro-life supporters believe the videos show there is a black market for baby parts.

Pro-choice supporters say the videos are heavily edited and misrepresent what actually took place.

“I’ve been particularly rattled by this,” said Leslie Hanks of American Right to Life. “I don’t know why it shocked me so much.  I’m here (protesting outside the clinic) every day.

Hanks told 7NEWS that the videos show the need for a “Personhood Amendment” to protect the unborn.

7NEWS placed two phone calls to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and left a business card at the front desk.  A receptionist said there was “no one available to talk.”

Later in the day, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains denounced this video to 7NEWS in a statement.

“The accuracy of today's heavily edited video cannot be confirmed and the full length footage that would put any comments in context has not been made available. To be clear, however, we are certain that no laws were broken and that accusations made by those who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services are false,” said Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in a written statement.

Previous: Planned Parenthood says it hasn't broken any laws

Documents related to internal investigation:

Bioethics committee memo to CSU president

Letter to Congressman Lamborn

Invoice showing tissue purchased from vendor

“The fact is that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has firmly rejected business proposals from the fake company "Biomax" that proposed to break the law and violate medical standards. In fact, in internal correspondence sent during the time when anti abortion extremists were fraudulently engaged in conversations about launching tissue donation programs, both of the Planned Parenthood physicians named in today's video make clear that they are strictly adhering to the law and medical ethics.”

A public relations firm in Los Angeles also sent an email stating, “You may have heard about a series of videos filmed by anti-abortion activists who deceptively represented themselves as officials from a (phony) biomedical company.”

“Nothing in these videos shows anyone from Planned Parenthood breaking the law,” said Anthony Perez, director of the Raben Group.  

Perez wrote, “We believe it’s critical that you learn the facts about these extremists, including their close ties to people who have planned bombings of clinics as well as the murder of a reproductive health doctor.”

The founder of The Center for Medical Progress is affiliated with Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, a group which harassed Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas.  Tiller was murdered in his church in 2009.  Operation Rescue denied any link to the convicted killer Scott Roeder.

According to the Operation Rescue website, Newman eventually bought and closed Tiller’s clinic.

The Operation Rescue website also lists a Cheryl Sullenger as the Senior Policy Advisor.

It states that Sullenger has been involved in the pro-life movement since 1984.  She founded and directed the California Life Coalition in San Diego and worked with Newman to help close over a dozen abortion clinics.

The website also states: “In a 1987 act she now regrets, Sullenger was charged and pled guilty to conspiracy to damage an abortion clinic.  Even though the clinic was not damaged, Sullenger took responsibility for her actions and served two years in Federal Prison.”

Questions are also being raised about a link between Colorado State University and fetal parts.

7NEWS obtained invoices which show the school procured a thymus on one occasion and a liver on two separate occasions in 2013 from Stem Express.

In a letter to Congressman Doug Lamborn, the school said researchers purchased cells from a thymus and two livers, not the entire organs.

That letter states that tissue must be obtained legally and in compliance with federal and state regulations.

CSU says the tissue was part of its federally funded AIDS research and that it doesn’t believe it has violated state or federal law.

The school sent a follow-up email to the Congressman saying officials had become aware of an expired CSU project with Planned Parenthood to obtain placental tissue.

It says there was no fetal tissue involved and that no placental tissue has been received for a number of years.

School President Tony Frank told Lamborn that he is following the Bioethics Advisory Committee’s recommendation to suspend any further acquisition of fetal tissues from StemExpress or other vendors implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional inquiry.

The committee also recommends that all efforts should be made to seek alternatives to aborted fetal tissue sources, where such alternatives allow key research to continue.

Frank says that’s a recommendation they will implement immediately.

He said they’re also requesting from all tissue providers all available information regarding the source of fetal tissue.

“With this information, our institution and researchers can continue to assure that when research is conducted, we do so meeting our ethical standards,” Frank wrote.

The Colorado Attorney General’s office is aware of the concerns.  The Colorado Department of Public Health has launched an investigation.

Planned Parenthood declined to go on camera.

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