Meet The Press: Planned Parenthood videos put abortion's ugly details in Americans' faces

by Michael Foust, Guest Reviewer |

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- Planned Parenthood is badly losing the public relations battle over abortion because a set of undercover videos has turned the debate into one on abortion's uncomfortable specifics, a group of political analysts and media members said Sunday during a panel discussion on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"When we have a video like this, it makes it impossible for Americans to have emotional and political distance – psychological distance – from abortion that Planned Parenthood has to have," said Ron Fournier, senior political columnist for National Journal.

[T]his puts abortion right in their faces, which is not good for Planned Parenthood.

In the first undercover video shot by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola, continues to eat her food as she discusses ways to obtain "intact" heart, lung and liver organs from late-term abortions to use for medical research. The organization, she said, is "very good" at harvesting the organs.

"Most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps," she said, implying that if the baby was simply pulled out, it would have legal rights and an abortion could not proceed.

In the second video, Planned Parenthood representative Mary Gatter jokes that she wants "a Lamborghini" in exchange for the unborn baby parts the organization is harvesting. A third video may be released this week, with as many as a dozen coming out before it's all over.

Planned Parenthood called the videos "heavily edited" and has criticized officials with the Center for Medical Progress as extreme, but Fournier isn't buying it.

"Any time an institution makes it about the tactics, you know it's about the content," he said.

Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report, noted that abortion rights often is discussed in "very theoretical terms."

"Once you start getting into details of this – you're talking about crushing, you're talking about tissues, you're talking about human beings, then it gets to be a much more visceral content problem," Walter said, calling it a "bigger" story than the debate over whether the organs are being sold.

Said Meet The Press host Chuck Todd: "No one likes to talk about the actual procedure."

Walter said he believes Planned Parenthood is not breaking the law, but Sara Fagen, a former aide to President George W. Bush, disagreed, saying the organization is indeed profiting.

"Let's discuss what these two medical doctors – senior officials at Planned Parenthood – are describing, which is the extraction of an infant, which is infanticide, crushing ... above the heart, below the lungs, and then harvesting the organs," Fagen said. "... This is not morally ambiguous. This is wrong, and Americans understand this is wrong. This should shine a big line on the practices that these folks find acceptable. This disgusts most people."

The videos are going to "become a huge issue" this fall in the 2016 presidential race, with "every Democrat" being forced to give an answer, she predicted.

"Given what the Republicans in Congress and the ones on the campaign trail are talking about now, this is a very serious movement [against Planned Parenthood]," she said.