Anti-abortion investigators have released a video they say proves Planned Parenthood facilitates the illegal sale of fetal body parts, a claim the group denied Tuesday.
The nine-minute video features a top Planned Parenthood director talking about obtaining intact fetal body parts such as livers and hearts during abortions by modifying how the procedure is carried out. The official also appears to say the national group has considered contracting directly with biomedical companies that supply human tissue to researchers.
"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact," Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of Medical Services, says in the video.
But in a written response to the video, Planned Parenthood said it helps patients legally donate fetal tissue for scientific research and only with their full consent.
"At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards," said Eric Ferrero, the group's vice president of communications.
Planned Parenthood didn't respond to comments by Nucatola where she appears to indicate that to keep fetal parts intact, doctors conduct procedures that are similar to partial-birth abortions, which are banned by federal law.
"The federal [partial birth] abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation, so if I say on Day One I do not intend to do this, what I ultimately do does not matter," Nucatola says in the video.
Nucatola is also shown saying the national Planned Parenthood group considered becoming a "middleman" for biomedical companies seeking human tissue, but that its legal department decided the issue was too "touchy," instead leaving it up to affiliate offices.
Asked about the "monetary value" of fetal tissue, Nucatola says a "specimen" can raise anywhere from $30 to $100. Planned Parenthood said neither it nor patients are paid for the donations, although it said transportation costs are sometimes reimbursed by the companies collecting the tissue samples.
The footage was obtained by the Center for Medical Progress, a new group founded by David Daleiden, who formerly worked on similar undercover videos released by Live Action.
"Planned Parenthood's barbaric practices reveal their contempt for rule of law and human life," said Live Action President Lila Rose. "This latest expose of Planned Parenthood's trafficking of baby parts for profit should be the final nail in the coffin for the abortion giant. Congress must take immediate action to stop all taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and end the bankrolling of this horrific human rights abuser."
• This article was originally published at 11:02 a.m. and has been updated.