“David Daleiden Refuses Plea Deal for Probation: ‘What We Want is an Apology’”

I was glad to read the LifeNews.com article by Steven Ertelt about this response to the Houston grand jury indictment of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, especially one day after reading an outrageous USA Today op-ed titled “The great deception behind the anti-Planned Parenthood videos: Column” by Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President and Chief Experience Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Ms. Laguens’s op-ed claims that

“Daleiden, working in concert with other well-known anti-abortion extremists including Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, who has documented ties to violence, spent nearly three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities (including fake government IDs), obtaining a credit card using a fake name and information, trespassing onto private property and illegally recording conversations without consent with the express goal of finding a way to attack Planned Parenthood and the health care services we provide.”

Unfortunately, almost all mainstream media have supported the Planned Parenthood explanation of the surprising Houston grand jury’s indictment of Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merrit rather than investigating whether a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic had sold the organs of aborted babies, the original purpose of the grand jury.

Journalism and Ethics

As a former reporter myself, I am constantly amazed by the lack of investigative reporting on abortion-related as well as other “politically incorrect” issues.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines investigative journalism as “a type of journalism that tries to discover information of public interest that someone is trying to hide.”

The mission statement for the Center for Medical Progress that was founded by David Daleidan shows how important this is:

The Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. We are concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity, and we oppose any interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings. We envision a world in which medical practice and biotechnology ally with and serve the goods of human nature and do not destroy, disfigure, or work against them.

Investigative journalism itself has had a long and mostly proud history and for many years there has even been a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

While Planned Parenthood criticizes David Daleiden’s and his Center for Medical Progress’ “deception” in making the undercover videos about selling fetal tissue from aborted babies, the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics states that journalists should:

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public. (Emphasis added)

The Center for Medical Progress’ undercover investigation undoubtedly meets this criteria.

Planned Parenthood has long gone to great lengths to keep negative information about its activities from the public while taking over $500 million dollars a year in taxpayer money. Planned Parenthood is now endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and its’ “advocacy and political organizations have plans to spend at least $20 million in the upcoming election cycle”.

It seems the real problem with the undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood is not really the alleged “crimes” of the investigators but rather a fear of damaging information undermining Planned Parenthood’s carefully crafted public façade as a benevolent, “top-ranked non-profit” organization that helps women and families.

But even the threat of a lawsuit such as Planned Parenthood’s against the Center for Medical Progress has caused many individuals and organizations to settle cases rather than potentially be imprisoned and/or bankrupted by legal fees. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to such intimidation tactics by an entrenched, politically connected and well-funded organization like Planned Parenthood.

Good for David Daleidan and the Center for Medical Progress!

 

Medical Professionals, Planned Parenthood and Fetal Tissue from Aborted Babies

On August 6, 2015, the Medscape website for medical professionals had an article: “Reader Poll: “Should Medical Societies Support Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood?” with 3 questions:

1. Do you agree that Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal funds for non-abortion-related care?
2. Do you believe that these 18 medical societies were justified in stating their support for Planned Parenthood?
3. Do you believe that it is ethical for Planned Parenthood to donate aborted fetal tissue for use in medical research?

Not surprisingly, given how these questions are worded, a large majority voted yes.

The Medscape article referenced a letter to Congress dated 8/3/2015 by 18 medical societies supporting continued funding for Planned Parenthood.
However, when I accessed the letter, it surprisingly says nothing about fetal tissue research.

I am including the actual letter and its signers below.

I wonder if these groups’ members feel the same way. I checked on two groups and couldn’t find the letter on the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or Society’s for Adolescent Health and Medicine’s websites.

I would encourage members of these groups as well as other ethical doctors and nurses to contact to contact these organizations to encourage them to protest this position (and the use of aborted babies for fetal tissue research), especially since it appears that many medical professionals are unaware of the issues involved.

I have seen this before.

Even though the American Nurses Association did not sign this letter and a current search shows no position on Planned Parenthood or fetal tissue use on its website, I was a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA) years ago and tried to work within that organization at a state level on several ethical issues. I read every issue of ANA’s Journal of Nursing, particularly the political section. When the ban on partial birth abortion came up in Congress, I read nothing about it in the Journal.

Awhile later, I was watching a political talk show and one of the panelists mentioned that the ANA was against the ban. That was news to me so I searched for the information on the internet. It took some time but I finally found the letter.

I tracked down the public relations director of the ANA and called her. At first, she said that she didn’t know what I was talking about but eventually found the information herself and seemed surprised.

I told her that I no longer could be a member of ANA not only because of its’ stance on partial birth abortion but also because of the secrecy. We members were not polled or even informed. I also told her that I would encourage other ANA members to also leave if the ANA did not change its position or inform its membership.

The PR person apologized. I gave her my phone number and encouraged her to have someone from the ANA contact me.

I never heard back from them.

We need accountability from our professional organizations, especially since these organizations claim to represent the interests of groups of medical professionals.

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In a letter dated August 3, a group of 18 medical societies, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, ask the Senate and House leadership to continue to allow Planned Parenthood to participate in federal health programs.

https://filemanager.capwiz.com/filemanager/file-mgr/acog/Provider_Ltr_in_Support_of_Planned_Parenthood_Funding_Updated.pdf

August 3, 2015

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
S-230, U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner:

As organizations representing health care professionals and the people they serve across the country, we strongly oppose any effort to prevent Planned Parenthood health centers from participating in federal health programs, including Medicaid and the Title X family planning program. Any proposal to exclude Planned Parenthood from public health programs will severely curtail women’s access to essential health care services, including family planning, well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancers screenings, and HIV testing and counseling. At a time when we should be focused on improving the health of all people, it is frustrating to witness ongoing attempts to cut off access to life-saving preventive care.
Planned Parenthood health centers play a crucial role in improving the health and lives of people across the country. In fact, 2.7 million people rely on Planned Parenthood for health care. For many women, Planned Parenthood is their only source of care—offering basic preventive services that are fundamental to women’s health and well-being. Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly 400,000 cervical cancer screenings and nearly 500,000 breast exams.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood provides over 2.1 million contraceptive services and nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. These services improve women’s health, prevent an estimated 516,000 unintended pregnancies, and decrease infant mortality.
Policies that would exclude Planned Parenthood from public health funding would hurt millions of women and undermine health care access in communities across the country. Approximately 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients access care through Medicaid and Title X, in addition to those who rely on other essential programs, including maternal and child health programs and Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) breast and cervical cancer screening programs.

In some states, Planned Parenthood is the only provider participating in Title X, and more than 50 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in a medically underserved or health professional shortage area. Because federal law already requires health care providers to demonstrate that no federal funds are used for abortion, prohibitions on funding for preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers will only devastate access to these life-saving services.

Every day, we see the harmful impact that unequal access to health care has on women and communities across the country, and we therefore strongly support policies that improve access to affordable, quality health care. Policies that would deny Planned Parenthood public health funds only serve to cut millions off from critical preventive care, and we strongly oppose any effort to do so. Should you have any questions, please contact ACOG Government Affairs staff, Rachel Gandell at 202-863-2534 or rgandell@acog.org.

Sincerely,

American College of Nurse-Midwives
American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologists
American Medical Women’s Association
American Medical Student Association
American Public Health Association
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Doctors for America
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Physicians Alliance
Physicians for Reproductive Health
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
cc: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

Money, Consent and Dishonesty. The New York Times editorial “The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood”

In this editorial, the New York Times defends the Planned Parenthood practice of “donating” fetal body parts in abortion by  arguing that the mothers make “voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations” and that Planned Parenthood “only accept money — between $30 and $100 per specimen, according to Dr. Nucatola — to cover costs associated with collecting and transporting the tissue”.

Not surprisingly, the NYT doesn’t-or most likely won’t-discuss how these baby “donations” are done or other ethical/legal issues.

However, the NYT does reveal that “Last year, the National Institutes of Health gave $76 million in grants for fetal tissue research. Planned Parenthood is certainly not the only collector of fetal tissue — clinics associated with universities also supply tissue for research.” (emphasis added)

Obviously, there is a lot of money to be made obtaining fetal tissue, including from taxpayers. The media should be following the money involved.

For example, note this quote from a May, 2015 USA Today article “Fetal stem cells and the sports heroes they revitalized-A special report by USA TODAY Sports reveals how a stem-cell manufacturer averted controversy in the treatments of Gordie Howe and John Brodie”: “”We don’t use the word fetal too much,” said Maynard Howe, Stemedica’s CEO, who is no relation to Gordie Howe. “We just don’t want to get people confused about what it is. They’re really considered legally adult stem cells even if they’re fetal-derived.“’ (emphasis added) Besides the deceptive terminology, have or are fetal tissues being set up for commercialized medical use?

As a former reporter, I am constantly amazed by the lack of investigative reporting on the issue of harvesting fetal body parts in abortion.

In just a few minutes of research, I found this on the website of StemExpress, one of the companies mentioned in articles about the controversy:

Partnerships-Easy to Implement Program + Financial Profits
StemExpress promotes global biomedical research while also providing a financial benefit to your clinic. By partnering with StemExpress, not only are you offering a way for your clients to participate in the unique opportunity to facilitate life-saving research, but you will also be contributing to the fiscal growth of your own clinic. The stem cell rich blood and raw materials that are usually discarded during procedures can, instead, be expedited through StemExpress to research laboratories with complete professionalism and source anonymity.” (emphasis added)

StemExpress also includes a convenient site  for purchasing “fetal liver” cells, including the incentive of “Become a StemExpress Customer Today to Receive 10% off Your First Order up to $1000”

Regarding consent, StemExpress has a “Statement of StemExpress Concerning Recent Media Stories”  that states “Written donor consent is required for any donation, including bone marrow, tissue of all types or blood.” If so, what does the form say? When and are the risks and benefits of abortion/donation written or explained to the women ready to abort so that their consent can be informed? As a nurse, I am very familiar with the standards for written consent before any surgery or procedure and few people “volunteer” to sign consent forms instead of being asked.

Planned Parenthood needs to be challenged on its defense as well as the politics, ethics or legality of harvesting body parts in abortions.