NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – Several religious leaders have responded to the revelation of a video showing a high-ranking administrator with Planned Parenthood discussing the exchange of body parts from aborted fetuses for money.
In the video, which was made public by the Center for Medical Progress July 14, Deborah Nucatola, a doctor and senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Medical Services Department, is recorded describing how the organization has been compensated for providing intact organs and body parts for research.
"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna to crush that part; I'm basically gonna crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact," Nucatola says in the secretly recorded conversation.
According to CNN, a transcript of the entire conversation indicates Nucatola was possibly discussing the donation of fetal tissue, but it was still clear that Planned Parenthood is financially reimbursed for the organs of the aborted fetuses.
Planned Parenthood has issued multiple denials that it traffics in the remains of the fetuses, and both Media Matters and American Bridge – liberal groups both tied closely to the Democrat Party – have also come to the group's aid, calling the report "deceptively edited."
Planned Parenthood's spokesman, Eric Ferrero, said the organization obtains consent from patients who wish to donate fetal tissue for medical research and does not sell body parts. But the evidence is clear that they do.
A California-based STEM cell harvesting company, StemExpress, claims in a pamphlet that providing fetal tissue to its company can advance research while providing "financial profits" to abortion clinics. The pamphlet contains a quote from the director of the Sacramento Planned Parenthood clinic. In the quote, Dr. Dorothy Furgeson extolls the partnership between the abortion provider and StemExpress.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement Planned Parenthood's response is both "chilling and unconvincing."
"The horror of this story should be shocking to the consciences of all Americans," Moore said. "Let's be clear about what is going on; it is not only that infants, in their mother's wombs, are deprived of their lives, but also that their corpses are desecrated for profit. This is not only murderous; it is murderous in the most ghoulish way imaginable. Is it not clear at this point that these are not health-care providers but pirates and grave-robbers of those who have no graves?"
Moore said the Department of Justice and the United States Congress should undertake a thorough investigation of the claims made by Nucatola in the video.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan's Purse, a global relief organization, said in a statement on his Facebook page said he was not surprised to hear a leader of Planned Parenthood speak callously about the death of the unborn.
"Abortion is a sin and is clearly murder in God's eyes. The people who perform it have no conscience, so I'm not at all surprised that they would be selling organs, tissue, and body parts from babies. Planned Parenthood should be put out of business—they've done enough damage. Sin has an enormous price. Our nation will one day have to answer to God for the millions of innocent lives taken by abortion, and that applies to every politician who voted for and defended abortion. Thankfully though, no sin is too great for God's forgiveness—even murder," Graham said.
According to Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., it isn't just politicians who will have to answer for the death of the unborn. Mohler said the situation with the role of Planned Parenthood in society is virtually identical to what happened in Nazi Germany during World War II.
"When the Allied forces liberated the concentration camps of the Nazi regime, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the ordinary German citizens of nearby towns and villages to walk through the camps and to see what they had allowed and facilitated. Eisenhower's point was all too clear — you allowed this to happen, and you share the guilt," Mohler said.
"We must pray that this video will mark an important turning point in our nation's conscience. Images and words can become seared in our minds. The horrifying knowledge of harvested baby hearts must lead to our own broken hearts," he said. "A nation that will allow this, will allow anything."
Within hours of the publication of the video featuring Nucatola, Congressman Chris Smith [R-NJ] announced in a press conference that he was calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood's practices. Republican presidential candidates, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul all also issued statements condemning the "horrific" and "barbaric" acts of Planned Parenthood.
Most also called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood by the government, a goal promoted by the anti-abortion movement since the early 1970s. According to Planned Parenthood's 2014 Annual Report, the organization conducted nearly 328,000 abortions in 2013-2014 and pulled in $528 million from "government grants and reimbursements."
The report does not indicate what percentage of the "reimbursements" it received was from the transference of fetal tissue to research laboratories and other medical facilities.
Pro-life groups are also coming out strong against Planned Parenthood.
Lila Rose, president of the pro-life advocacy group Live Action, said the investigation by the Center for Medical Progress exposed the underbelly of the abortion industry and "the black market profiteering by America's largest abortion chain."
"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," Rose said.
Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said in a statement that Americans were shocked to see Nucatola "discussing a 'menu' of aborted baby hearts, lungs and livers that she targets during abortions to provide to waiting buyers."
She also called on Congress to investigate the sale of fetal body parts and the claims of Planned Parenthood's President Cecile Richards that the group did nothing wrong.
"Because of the highly secretive, rarely monitored world of Big Abortion, we are told to 'trust but never verify' the nature of their grisly business. Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar corporate behemoth. Of course, they deny wrong doing despite troubling evidence otherwise," Yoest said.
Americans United for Life recently issued a report charting how Planned Parenthood established "mega centers" and captured nearly one-third of the abortion market. Its numbers of abortions have increased while cancer screenings and other preventive health measures have decreased, the report claims.