Faith & Family
Follow the money
September 29th, 2015
By Vicki Evans
On Sept. 3, pro-life Susan B. Anthony List invited 2,000 congressional Democrats and their staffs to a Capitol Hill screening of the Planned Parenthood investigative videos released to date. Only nine staffers showed up. Why? Perhaps a quick look at the money flowing between Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats tells the story.
Opensecrets.org describes Planned Parenthood as a “not-for-profit family planning and reproductive health organization with a left-leaning super PAC that backs candidates... who support abortion rights.” It reports that during the 2012 election cycle Planned Parenthood spent $16.5 million in direct contributions, lobbying, and outside spending to support the campaigns of President Obama and numerous congressional Democrats.
That money was well spent. Planned Parenthood’s 2012-2013 annual report notes that 45% of its revenue or $540.6 million was provided by taxpayer-funded government health services grants.
Here’s a closer view of what’s going on with the Planned Parenthood/government connections. It’s informative to follow the money trail through the three divisions of the now infamous fetal parts industry: a seller, the abortion provider; a middleman, the fetal procurement company; and a buyer, a government agency, university research facility or pharmaceutical company.
Planned Parenthood charges on average $470 for a first trimester abortion, which increases to $1,500 at the 20th week. But that’s only half the story. Although it is illegal to buy or sell fetal tissue, the law allows “donation.” Practically speaking, what arises is a buyer-seller relationship between the abortion provider and fetal procurement agency. While Planned Parenthood admits that its clinics receive cash payments of $45 to $60 “per tissue specimen,” federal law does not authorize a per specimen payment schema. It authorizes only reasonable reimbursement of actual costs.
Additional revenue collected can be substantial. Former Planned Parenthood clinic director, Abby Johnson, testified before a Texas Senate committee that her clinic “received $200 in compensation for each baby that was sent” to Amphioxus Cell Technology. These fetal tissue payments could conservatively bring in $1.4 million per year for just one clinic. This is suspiciously high for “cost reimbursements,” particularly when the cost of shipping is often done at the middleman’s expense.
And what about the middleman? Seeing an opportunity for profit, fetal procurement firms sprang up as a buffer, a way to shield the abortion provider from legal liability and moral culpability. Placerville-based StemExpress and Advanced Bioscience Resources near Washington D.C., are two such firms.
StemExpress’ website markets fetal liver products it has “collected at nearby partner hospitals or clinics” with research institutions paying from $488 to $24,250 for vials of “cryopreserved” (i.e., frozen to sub-zero temperatures) cells.
Both the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration are among the clients of Advanced Bioscience Resources. In one of the videos, a Planned Parenthood medical director talks about having supplied aborted fetuses to ABR for over 10 years for its “big ... government-level collections.”
Federal grants for fetal tissue research are expected to reach their highest level next year rising to $77 million. According to Boston Globe’s website, the $14 million awarded to San Francisco Bay Area facilities in 2014 topped the list. In Northern California, academic research involving fetal tissue takes place largely at Stanford University and the University of California-San Francisco. In the first video, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services states that UCSF affords” the best opportunity ... to get those larger cases,” meaning preborn babies in the range of five to six months development. A dubious distinction for UCSF.
Thanks to the Center for Medical Progress surveillance videos plus social media, hidden and likely illegal details about the dissection and sale of fetuses have exploded onto the scene. From days-old embryos to “intact cases,” a euphemism for a baby born-alive in a failed abortion, or one retrieved from an illegal partial-birth abortion, human beings are now research material. But trafficking in fetal parts is nothing more than a natural outgrowth of the disregard for human life that abortion fosters.
Evans is respect life coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
From October 1, 2015 issue of Catholic San Francisco.