Anti-abortion activists, under the guise of a journalism outlet, released a controversial video Tuesday. The video allegedly shows Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s medical director, discussing the harvesting of fetal body parts and supplying them to researchers for a fee.
Gov.Greg Abbott has called on state agencies to launch an investigation into abortion procedures, calling the video “unnerving and appalling.” A statement from Planned Parenthood says the video is misleading and “heavily edited,” and that the reproductive services group only “donates fetal tissue with consent from the patient and not for financial gain.”
Brian Rosenthal covers health and Texas politics for the Houston Chronicle, he says the organization that released the video, the Center for Medical Progress, haven’t been in the journalism game very long. In fact, the group was founded by a prominent anti-abortion activist involved in similar PLanned Parenthood “stings” before.
Does Nucatola actually discuss any illegal activity in the video? Rosenthal says not to his knowledge.
“You can’t tell if she is talking about how much it would cost to harvest these organs and then transfer them to scientists to study. You can’t tell if she is talking about selling them or just how much it would cost an organization to do a donation. Donation is legal, selling is not,” he says.
What was the political motivation behind the video?
“We [at the Houston Chronicle] assume that there is a political motive behind everything we see. We were conflicted because originally the group put out a nine-minute video that appeared to show this woman talking about selling organs. We wanted to wait to see the full video. Eventually they did put out a nearly three-hour unedited video that is more complicated,” Rosenthal says.
Is this the next big anti-abortion, pro-lifer crusade?
“After what happened last time in Texas with House Bill 2 — which has led to the closure of more than half of the abortion clinics in Texas — we heard anti-abortion activists were kind of not sure what to take on next,” Rosenthal says. “This is certainly a new area for them to talk about. You can definitely see legislation coming related to this issue. It’s obviously something that’s going to be very controversial.”