See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
A video published Tuesday purported to expose the industry of selling fetal tissue as part of an ongoing campaign against Planned Parenthood by an anti-choice front group.
The Center for Medical Progress, which has published a series of videos that claim to show illegal and unethical activities by Planned Parenthood, posted the video to its YouTube channel. Tuesday’s video, the first episode of CMP’s Human Capital documentary web series, includes interviews with a former clinic worker and previously released film footage, along with some new footage.
Questions have been raised about CMP’s deceptive tactics, ideological agenda and connections to radical and violent anti-choice activists.
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An Rewire investigation found that David Daleiden, the head of the organization, and his associates may have violated California and federal laws—including forgery, credit card fraud, and identity theft—when filming the videos.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is reviewing whether CMP should be investigated for violating any laws in making the deceitful recordings.
The newest video prominently features footage from an interview with Holly O’Donnell, a phlebotomist who described her work as a “procurement technician” at the fetal tissue company StemExpress in late 2012. O’Donnell said her job was to identify pregnant people at Planned Parenthood who met criteria for fetal tissue orders and process the fetal tissue.
O’Donnell recounted anecdotes about her time working at StemExpress and her interactions with Planned Parenthood employees. She made several claims about the actions and motivations of unnamed people with whom she interacted.
O’Donnell claimed that Planned Parenthood was receiving “some kind” of financial benefit from their partnership with StemExpress.
“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage,” O’Donnell said. “The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.”
Planned Parenthood has repeatedly denied the charge that the organization profits from the selling of fetal tissue.
The video includes footage from the first two undercover videos released by CMP, and also shows previously unreleased edited undercover footage of Dr. Savita Ginde, the vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. The footage was reportedly taken in the Planned Parenthood clinic pathology laboratory. Ginde said in the video that Planned Parenthood has a relationship with Advanced Bioscience Resource (ABR), an Alameda-based nonprofit that obtains and delivers fetal tissue to medical researchers.
CMP has not released the unedited footage of Ginde.
StemExpress is a California based company that provides biomedical researchers with human blood, bone marrow, tissue products and primary cells. A statement was previously issued by StemExpress regarding CMP’s undercover videos which state that the company complies “with all laws” and “written donor consent is required for any donation.”
O’Donnell said that Cate Dyer, the founder and CEO of StemExpress, used to be a procurement tech before she founded the biotech company. “Now she’s making a lot of money based off of the poor girls who half the time don’t even want to get abortions,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a pretty sick company.”
It is unclear if O’Donnell is claiming that half of the women who have abortions are being coerced.
Companies like StemExpress operate in a legal “gray zone,” according to reporting by the New York Times, because while federal law prohibits companies from selling fetal tissue for profit, it does not specify how much companies can charge for processing and shipping.
In an interview with the New York Times, Dyer said that StemExpress obtains fetal tissue in accordance with the rules of the ethics boards at the institutions who purchase it, and that the process of procuring the fetal tissue is highly expensive.
“These are hard processes, expensive processes that take millions of dollars of equipment,” Dyer told the New York Times. “Just to attempt to do some of these isolations can cost us thousands of dollars, and it may not even work.”
Daleiden recently attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference in San Diego and commented on the attack videos, reported the Guardian.
“For the first time, all of the American public, and the whole world, is getting to see the truth about Planned Parenthood’s abortion services,” Daleiden said. “There is a lot more to come.” Daleiden claimed that CMP will release about a dozen more videos and between 100 to 200 pages of documents from Planned Parenthood and its “proxies.”
Daleiden claimed that his videos prove that a “high volume” abortion clinic can “easily make” $120,000 a year. “They’ll never admit it’s for profit but if you look at how the business is sustained it’s clear,” Daleiden said.
To date, CMP has published 26 pages of documents from Planned Parenthood, including the 2000-2001 annual report and fetal tissue donation consent form. It has published another 28 documents from other companies, including an ABR company description and fee schedule, and a StemExpress jobs listing, compensation policy, and procurement forms.
The explicit target of the videos is Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers have called for investigations, members of Congress have called for hearings, and anti-choice activists staged rallies in cities around the country on Tuesday calling for Planned Parenthood’s federal funding to be eliminated.