Much of the Republican presidential field is stepping up condemnations of Planned Parenthood in response to an undercover video that an anti-abortion group claims to show an executive with the abortion rights organization discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.
Several candidates are citing the video as a reason Planned Parenthood should lose federal funding.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has come down the hardest of the candidates, launching an investigation into Planned Parenthood in Louisiana, saying in a statement that “the trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome.”
The video purportedly shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, according to The Center for Medical Progress, which posted the clip on YouTube. On the video, the woman discusses the use of aborted organs, and mentions the price range of the tissue “per specimen.” According to The Center for Medical Progress, Dr. Nucatola was holding a discussion with “actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company.”
In a statement following the release of the tape, Planned Parenthood said the organization helps patients donate tissue should they choose to do so, but it is with the full consent of the patient, adheres to the “highest ethical and legal standards,” and, “there is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”
“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research,” the statement read.
The Center for Medical Progress is a group of citizen journalists reporting on medical ethics who “oppose any interventions, procedures, and experiments that exploit the unequal legal status of any class of human beings,” according to its website.
Several GOP candidates are campaigning against Planned Parenthood in full force. Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson all started petitions to defund Planned Parenthood, urging supporters to sign. Sen. Rick Santorum has urged defunding as well. In a radio interview, Huckabee said he has not seen "seen such cold-blooded indifference to human life” since the Nazis.
Rick Perry and Scott Walker both cited the video as a reason they signed off on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood as governors in their respective states, Texas and Wisconsin. Texas has launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood, as well.
“These videos are just another example of why we need to do that at the federal level as well,” Walker said at a campaign event in South Carolina.
Similarly, Marco Rubio said he was proud one of his first actions as senator was to vote to defund Planned Parenthood.
Even GOP candidates who did not call for defunding the organization strongly condemned the video.
Carly Fiorina wrote in a statement, “this latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn't about 'choice.' It's about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it's about empowerment."
Jeb Bush tweeted his reaction soon after the video was released: