HOUSTON, Texas (Christian Examiner) – One day after a Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood stalled in the U.S. Senate, a fifth video showing a Planned Parenthood employee discussing her robust contribution to the abortion provider's "bottom line" through the sale of fetal tissue has been released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
In the video, Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, talks up the Texas branch's record sales of aborted fetal tissues and brags about the organization's ability to provide fully intact fetuses for sale. The video contains horrifying images of fetal body parts mixed together in what looks like a glass oven baking dish.
Like past undercover videos of other Planned Parenthood officers, this video begins with actors portraying purchasing agents from a human biologics company, Biomax. That company was set up by CMP legally as a means of gaining entry into the abortion industry. The buyers visit Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, where they discuss ways they can obtain harvested fetal organs and are invited into the facility's laboratory where fetal remains can be seen being sorted by workers.
After the buyers are shown the fetal body parts, Farrell and the actors from CMP have lunch. During the lunch, Farrell claims her research department contributes significantly to the clinic's overall budget.
"I think everyone realizes, especially because my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here – you know, we're one of the largest affiliates, our research department is the largest in the United States – larger than any of the other affiliates' combined," Farrell says in the video.
While no one in the video provides estimates of how much money the group takes in monthly, a former Texas Planned Parenthood worker says she knows.
During a Texas Senate hearing on Planned Parenthood July 29, former Planned Parenthood clinical director Abby Johnson testified that the affiliate in the video made as much as $120,000 a month off of the sale of aborted fetal tissue.
Farrell says in the video that doctors at the Planned Parenthood "mega-center" can adjust procedures to obtain specific body parts and sometimes, though difficult, can manipulate a procedure in an attempt to gain a whole cadaver.
"Some of our doctors in the past have projects and they're collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen," Farrell says.
"Where we probably have an edge over other organizations, our organization has been doing research for many, many years," Farrell says. She claims that if a buyer needs specific parts, "We bake that into our contract and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that."
When asked how they might describe the changing of a procedure to obtain fetal body parts, Farrell says the price can be worked out in accordance with the difficulty of the procedure – under the headings of "additional time, cost, administrative burden."
"If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It's all just a matter of line items," Farrell says in the video.
U.S. law proscribes the sale of fetal tissue; it is considered a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison and a $500,000 fine. Federal law also notes a doctor cannot adjust a medical procedure such as an abortion to obtain fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood quickly issued a statement about the "latest false claims" from the CMP. In the statement, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the new video "doesn't show Planned Parenthood staff engaged in any wrongdoing or agreeing to violate any legal or medical standards." Instead, she said the video only shows the improper entry of an extremist group into a "medical research" laboratory.
"The video released today will be difficult for many people to see. Medical procedures and medical research are often difficult to watch. The video shows a Planned Parenthood staff member with an actor posing as a medical researcher handling fetal tissue in a lab. It is standard medical practice to review tissue to ensure the health and safety of patients, and this tissue was being examined and handled under the false pretense of a standard laboratory site visit for people purportedly conducting qualified medical research," Laguens said.
She also said the video had "at least 20 substantial and unexplained edits." Planned Parenthood's explanation of past videos – and the explanation of the White House, as well – has been that the videos were "deceptively" and "highly selectively" edited to make it appear as if Planned Parenthood workers were violating the law.
David Daleiden, who leads the CMP project, said the video shows the negotiation of the sale of fetal body parts without any connection to "tissue donation."
"Planned Parenthood's system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable," Daleiden said.
"Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end. There is no reason for an organization that uses illegal abortion methods to sell baby parts and commit such atrocities against humanity to still receive over $500 million each year from taxpayers."
What is uncertain is if the newest video released violates in any way the restraining order placed on CMP by Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco. The U.S. district court judge on Friday said CMP could not release footage of any meeting or personnel belonging to the National Abortion Federation. On Monday, he extended the temporary restraining order to August 27.
Orrick was appointed by President Obama, was a campaign finance "bundler" for him, and personally donated $30,000 to political action committees loyal to the president.