Anti-abortion group: Planned Parenthood move is ‘admission of guilt’

Anti-abortion group: Planned Parenthood move is ‘admission of guilt’
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The anti-abortion-rights activist who has targeted Planned Parenthood is declaring the group’s decision to stop taking compensation for fetal tissue procurement an “admission of guilt” in response to his undercover videos.

Hours after Planned Parenthood announced its policy change, Center for Medical Progress (CMP) President David Daleiden blasted the move as a “PR stunt” that he said offers evidence that its affiliates have been acting illegally.

"If the money Planned Parenthood has been receiving for baby body parts were truly legitimate 'reimbursement,' why cancel it?” he asked in a statement. “This proves what CMP has been saying all along — Planned Parenthood incurs no actual costs, and the payments for harvested fetal parts have always been an extra profit margin.”

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Before Tuesday's policy change, only one Planned Parenthood affiliate accepted compensation for fetal tissue procurement. That affiliate accepted “modest reimbursement” of $45 to $60 per tissue specimen, according to a letter from the group’s president to congressional leaders in August.

Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, are legally allowed to accept “reasonable” reimbursement costs for fetal tissue donation procurement. Though it is still legal, the practice has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of Daleiden’s videos.

Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, Dawn Laguens, said in an interview Tuesday that she hopes the policy change will force the controversial organization to wind down its attacks — or at least force it to change the conversation.

“We just want the focus to go back to, for the women who choose to donate, it’s a humanitarian thing that they’re doing,” Laguens said.

She rejected the idea now being argued by Daleiden and anti-abortion-rights groups like Susan B. Anthony’s List that Planned Parenthood is walking back its policy because of any questionable behavior, and dismissed criticism that her group is giving in to the groups.

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“We’re not caving,” she said. “So many people said, ‘I don’t know why you continue to do this, you guys could just walk away from this,’ but this is in fact Planned Parenthood standing strong and saying, 'we are going to continue to do this work.' ”

Daleiden is claiming victory after a months-long campaign against Planned Parenthood in which he released 10 hidden-camera videos on a nearly weekly basis. Though he has claimed to have enough footage for at least 12 videos, he has not released a video since mid-September.

Daleiden did not return a request for comment Tuesday.

Several of those videos included brief clips that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the prices of fetal parts. In one video, a Planned Parenthood employee is heard joking, “I want a Lamborghini,” while discussing fetal tissue compensation.

Nearly a dozen congressional and state panels have launched probes into Planned Parenthood but no evidence of wrongdoing has been found. None of the videos have led to criminal probes or charges against the group.

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Daleiden, who has largely remained out of the public eye even after releasing the videos, said they also show that Congress needs to step up its investigation of the group.

After repeatedly failing to defund Planned Parenthood without Democratic support, the House voted last week to create a special investigative panel that will soon have its own committee staff and budget to deepen its probe. Multiple Republicans at the forefront of the investigations into Planned Parenthood, including Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLott says lobbying firm cut ties to prevent him from taking clients Lobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Bush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT MORE (R-Ohio), said Tuesday the efforts must continue.

“This only raises more serious questions about what Planned Parenthood leadership has been allowing its clinics to do with money and baby parts, and intensifies the need for Congress to pursue full auditing and oversight of Planned Parenthood’s unaccountable criminal enterprise of baby parts trafficking," Daleiden said.

He added that he doubted that Planned Parenthood would go through with the change, criticizing its leadership for failing to release the text of the new policy.