In an interview with The Daily Signal, an online news publication of the conservative Heritage Foundation, Abby Johnson — the ex-director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas, who has become an outspoken pro-life activist — revealed some of the worst aspects of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation process.
Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling the body parts of unborn babies killed in its facilities received widespread attention after release of undercover videos recorded by the Center for Medical Progress at the same southeast Texas clinic Johnson once directed. Critics of the practice contend that the scenes captured in the video are not only despicable, but illegal if the organization was making profits on the organ sales.
Kelsey Harkness, news producer at The Daily Signal, recently interviewed Johnson and asked her to describe Planned Parenthood’s procedures for harvesting body parts from babies whose lives had been terminated at their facility, from the moment the pregnant clients were tricked into agreeing to the donation by being told they would be participating in a “life saving” study, until the body parts were shipped off to the researchers paying for them. Johnson, who worked for the abortion giant for eight years before resigning in 2009 after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion, was more than willing to provide full details of the barbaric practice.
When Harkness asked Johnson to describe how the process began, the former clinic director said that after the patient signed the consent forms agreeing to the abortion, they told her that they were participating in a research study and that she had an opportunity to donate the remains of the aborted baby to a research laboratory that would be working on “life-saving treatments” for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Using a typical abortion-provider euphemism, Johnson said the body parts were described as “the tissue that’s removed from her uterus.”
When Harkness asked Johnson if there was a strategy behind the way she phrased her questions, Johnson replied:
We never discussed, “They may want just a leg, or an arm, or these specific organs.” That would create a sense of humanity in their unborn child. And really, we would even shy away from calling it fetal tissue research because just calling it tissue sanitizes it — the women don’t necessarily think about the body of their baby, they’re just thinking about blood and tissue.
Such euphemistic language is common among abortion providers, who often refer to an unborn child as a “product of conception.”
When asked about how much Planned Parenthood employees were compensated for providing the body parts, Johnson said:
It depended on how much Planned Parenthood was getting per research participant. For our fetal tissue study, we got paid about $200 per baby that we sent. If I recall correctly, I think the compensation to the staff was about $20 per enrollment.
As Johnson continued describing the procedure, two things became evident: First, Planned Parenthood routinely uses euphemistic Newspeak worthy of the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984 to deemphasize the humanity of the unborn baby being killed, and second, the body parts to be collected and sold are regarded as impersonally as if they were automobile fuel injectors or catalytic converters. For example, after the abortion was performed, the jar or the tube into which the baby’s body parts had been suctioned would go into the “products of conception lab” where the “product of conception technician," who works for Planned Parenthood, would empty everything that was suctioned out into a dish like what we saw in the fourth and fifth Center for Medical Progress video.
How much easier on the abortion technicians’ consciences it must have been to call the remains of a human baby “products of conception”!
When asked what the “product of conception technician” did with the different body parts, Johnson said:
If it was during a time that we were participating in a research study, they would pick out whatever was requested — whether it was a specific organ, eyeballs, whatever it was — they would take that out and put that in a specimen bag.
Eyeballs, spark plugs — what’s the difference?
The body parts going to the research lab were then put into a Styrofoam container packed with dry ice and shipped off to the research lab that was paying for them. Planned Parenthood received $200 per specimen as noted above, and all the specimens were combined into one box which cost them $20 to ship. So the profits were large.
The publicity generated by the release of the Center for Medical Progress videos helped fuel an effort in the Senate to prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood initiated by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who introduced a bill to that effect on July 28. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was one of 45 cosponsors of the bill and remains an outspoken critic of Planned Parenthood. On August 3, the bill received 53 of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and was not brought to the floor for a vote.
Paul was highly critical of Planned Parenthood’s systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts when speaking on The Glenn Beck Program on August 4. He said:
The videos are incredibly disturbing. When I heard about them using ultrasounds to manipulate the baby into a position so it could be removed a little bit at a time so they could get at the baby’s organs — kidneys, livers — and the sort of the callous disregard by the doctor saying, “Oh yeah, livers are popular” — it’s hard to hear that.
The Washington Times reported Johnson’s opinion that under current law, Planned Parenthood may not be doing anything illegal because they hide the compensation they receive by recording it as compensation for expenses, such as the cost of collecting, storing, and shipping the body parts. She said:
The law currently states that there can be moneys exchanged as long as they fit under certain categories like preservation, collection, storage, transport, etc. And the law says there is not a maximum amount that can be charged or a minimum amount but that costs cannot be prohibitive. And that’s very subjective.
They [clinics] could say, “Well, it’s more difficult for me to harvest a brain than it is for me to harvest a kidney, so that collection fee is going to be $1,000 for a brain, whereas it’s only going to be $400 for a kidney.” And the problem is that it’s so subjective, the amount of money that can be charged. That’s really where we need reform.
The Times reported that Republicans in both the House and Senate have called for a congressional investigation, and the governors or attorneys general in at least three states — Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio — have launched probes into state abortion clinics to determine if fetal organs and tissue are being sold for profit.
Veterans of the pro-life movement will not be surprised by anything done by the abortion industry, because not much can make the killing of an innocent unborn baby any worse than it already is. But the release of videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress and Abbey Johnson’s public statements have moved the debate out into the open once more — a place where those trying divert the nation’s attention from the abortion holocaust prefer that it not be.