April 20, 2016
It looks just like any other online shopping cart. There's a drop down menu for parts and sizes. Click over to checkout, the website says, and choose your shipping option. But this isn't your average Amazon order. It's a ghoulish shop of horrors, where tiny human hands, hearts, eyes, scalps and livers are for sale.
It's the business that -- just this past September -- Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards said she was "proud" to supply. Now, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives knows why. Richards was helping the middlemen, the procurement business, make tens of thousands of dollars carving up her clinics' lifeless bodies for profit. After months of denying the allegations -- and getting their liberal friends to do the same -- Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) produced the most damning evidence against President Obama's pals yet -- including proof that Planned Parenthood was not only making a profit from its organ harvesting ring, but almost certainly breaking federal law in the process.
While Planned Parenthood has spent the better part of a year trying to discredit David Daleiden's undercover videos, these facts will be a much bigger challenge for the Left's spin machine. From stomach-turning charts to expert witnesses, Blackburn's committee blew apart Richards's claims that hers was a goodwill mission for "tissue research." "You don't have to be a lawyer to see what's going on here," Blackburn told a packed audience. "You put up a website that offers any baby body part imaginable -- and why on earth do they need a baby scalp? Then you pick a gestation period and check out. To offer that service you need abortion clinics -- a lot of [them] -- so you grow your number of clinics and you offer the clinics money to sign up... You tell the clinic that you will do all the work... This does not sound to me like tissue donation for research. This sounds like someone who wants to make money -- a lot of money -- selling baby body parts."
This relationship between groups like StemExpress (also caught by Daleiden) is a lucrative one. Holding up a pamphlet, the Tennessee Congresswoman pointed out, "This is the procurement company brochure that it handed out at national conferences where abortion clinic managers were in attendance. Notice it says 'financially profitable... fiscally rewards... financial benefit to your clinic.'" Partner with us, one said, "and improve the profitability of your clinic improve your clinic's bottom line financially profitable." Based on the Panel's exhibits, the procurement business started in 2010 with three clinics. By last year, they were negotiating partnerships with as many as 250 clinics. Obviously, those deals fell apart once Center for Medical Progress's videos hit the web. Still, Blackburn's team revealed, at that time, one in every five clinics (roughly 100) "was involved in the sale of baby body parts."
Considering the piles of evidence, the majority of witnesses at today's hearing agreed that there is more than enough material to substantiate a full-blown federal grand jury investigation. Michael Norton testified that "It seems clear from the documents and evidence... that there has been profiteering at multiple levels in this grisly business." Catherine Glenn Foster echoed that concern, explaining, "The Panel's evidence reveals that abortion clinics are being promised a profit and are paid even when they have no apparent costs to be reimbursed, which further multiplies a clinic's windfall via savings on disposal services. Tissue procurement companies are likewise paid exorbitantly by their customers. This market in baby organs and tissues demonstrates a flagrant and repeated disregard for the rule of law."
Yet still, the Obama administration is so beholden to Planned Parenthood that it's threatening to strip states of their Medicare and Medicaid funding if they cut ties with Richards's group. That would have been shocking enough, since the group is under congressional and criminal investigation. But now -- when there's ample evidence that the organization likely broke federal law, the president wants to force all 50 states into complicity? After selectively throwing its weight around in Texas and Indiana, Health and Human Services sent a first-of-its-kind blackmail letter to every state, warning that if they redirect Planned Parenthood money to the thousands of community health center alternatives, they can kiss their Medicaid funding goodbye.
It's the same thuggish federal carrot-and-stick approach that's served Obama well in radical education, health care, LGBT, and abortion policies. With a massive sea change underway in state pro-life policy, the administration knows the only way to get its way is resorting to brute force. That's an embarrassment for a party that claims to care about women. Not only do these other health centers serve eight times more women patients than Planned Parenthood, but they provide much more comprehensive care -- at a fraction of the cost (or criminal baggage)!
The bottom line is the bottom line. Planned Parenthood wants patients' money. They'll sue the states for it, overbill for birth control to get it, lie to women to get it, even sell baby body parts for it. And why do liberals stand for it? Because the 13,000 community health centers that could provide better care do not provide something else: $20 million in Democratic political contributions over the last two election cycles alone. While the administration and far-Left side with the inhumane, our hats go off to Rep. Blackburn and the many pro-life leaders for doing what taxpayers have asked for some time: demand some accountability from an industry that pockets hundreds of millions of our dollars every year.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.