My new op-ed is running in The Hill today: “Planned Parenthood’s illicit body parts scheme.”
Shocking new information continues to be released about the “business relationship” between some of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates and the body body parts company StemExpress, which I first exposed with the release of CMP’s investigative journalism study last year.
From the op-ed:
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte did 18,035 abortions last year – if each abortion yielded just one “usable” “product of conception” for StemExpress, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte stood to gain nearly $1 million every year from its sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, and brains.
The facts are becoming clear–Planned Parenthood and their business partners turned pregnant women, unborn children, and their body parts into a profit center:
“PROFIT” – Planned Parenthood’s Illicit Moneymaking From Baby Body Parts
Planned Parenthood got caught in our videos, and now they are trying to cover it all up and silence the messenger. But the more they attack the First Amendment, resist transparency, and refuse to answer basic questions and back up their talking points about their baby body parts scandal, the more the facts speak for themselves.
[28 June 2016, David Daleiden, The Center for Medical Progress email; The Hill, David Daleiden, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/lobbying-world/285122-planned-parenthoods-illicit-body-parts-scheme ]
Planned Parenthood’s illicit body parts scheme
The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released a stunning set of documents this month from its investigation of the trade in baby body parts between abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and biotech companies like StemExpress. In the first of two complaint letters filed with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Panel writes:
“the Panel’s investigation has uncovered information indicating that StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific and Family Planning Specialists Medical Group committed systematic violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (‘HIPAA’) privacy rule from about 2010 to 2015. These violations occurred when the abortion clinics disclosed patients’ individually identifiable health information to StemExpress to facilitate the TPB’s efforts to procure human fetal tissue for resale” (emphasis in original).
Planned Parenthood has insisted from the beginning that they “broke no laws” and that every investigation of their fetal organ and tissue harvesting practices has “cleared” them of any “wrongdoing.”
In reality, the only investigation capable of taking a comprehensive look at these complex multi-state, inter-state transactions (which are coordinated through Planned Parenthood-friendly jurisdictions like California) is the House Select Panel – and that Panel has just found that the wrongdoing is far deeper and more widespread than anyone ever imagined.
StemExpress, LLC is a privately-held, for-profit biotech company in Placerville, CA that harvests fetal organs at abortion clinics for resale to other biotech companies and research labs. On April 1, 2010, less than one month after its founding, StemExpress signed a contract with San Jose, CA-based Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the biggest and wealthiest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country. That contract permitted StemExpress technicians to come into Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s high-volume abortion clinics in San Jose, Sacramento, and Fresno every morning with order lists specifying the number, type, and gestational age of body parts required and set to work fulfilling customer demand.
Inside the clinics, StemExpress technicians did all of the work, from start to finish, of harvesting tiny body parts from abortions, including “consenting” pregnant women to “donate” their “fetal tissue.” Planned Parenthood provided StemExpress with access to patients’ private medical charts in order to identify patients whose pregnancies could fulfill StemExpress’ body parts orders. The panel concludes: “Each time that an abortion clinic employee shared a medical chart with a StemExpress employee, both violated the HIPAA privacy rule.” After successfully targeting and enrolling the patient using her confidential HIPAA information, StemExpress paid Planned Parenthood $55 per fetal body part “determined in the clinic to be usable” after the abortion.
The documents released by the Select Panel include the original contract between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. The “terms of services” are chilling, and appear unlawful on their face:
“The term ‘product of conception’ (‘POC’) means any fetal organ or other fetal or placental material taken from the human uterus during an abortion.”
“The reasonable costs associated with the services specified in this Agreement shall be fifty-five dollars ($55.00) per POC determined in the clinic to be usable.”
“Planned Parenthood Mar Monte will invoice Stem-Ex [StemExpress] monthly for the number of POC’s…procured by Stem-Ex. Stem-Ex will pay Planned Parenthood Mar Monte within two weeks of receipt of the invoice.”
Amazingly, the contracts do not contemplate any invoicing between Planned Parenthood and StemExpress for “reimbursement” of specific costs: the only payments mentioned are for the number of “usable” fetal organs that StemExpress can procure. Planned Parenthood Mar Monte did 18,035 abortions last year – if each abortion yielded just one “usable” “product of conception” for StemExpress, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte stood to gain nearly $1 million every year from its sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, and brains. StemExpress, for its part, would mark up the fetal organs 5 times from the $55 it paid Planned Parenthood to a final $595 price to its customers.
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is not the only Planned Parenthood affiliate that sold to StemExpress–in fact, the Panel’s documents also include contracts with Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific (renamed Planned Parenthood Northern California) and Planned Parenthood Santa Barbara, Ventura, & San Luis Obispo.
The contracts include the same terms as the first Mar Monte agreement.
StemExpress also contracted with private National Abortion Federation member Family Planning Specialists.
According to exhibits in the Panel’s April 20 hearing on “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue,” by 2015 StemExpress was working with nearly 100 abortion clinics nationwide – close to 1 in every 5.
Pro-abortion members on the Select Panel minority, bought and paid for with Planned Parenthood’s baby parts money, have reacted with studied cynicism to the release of these documents.
Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky, who has received $13,365 in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood (the equivalent of 243 baby livers under the StemExpress contract), called the Panel’s release a threat to “individual privacy and safety.”
Where is her concern for the individual privacy and safety of pregnant women whose private medical information was actually sold by Planned Parenthood to StemExpress in order to target them for profit?
StemExpress paid Planned Parenthood to break the law, divulging confidential patient medical information in order to bring outside market forces to bear on pregnant women making life-altering decisions.
It’s time for law enforcement at all levels to hold these barbaric businesses accountable for their crimes against vulnerable women and children. Every human being is worth more than the sum of his or her body parts.
[David Daleiden is the founder of Center for Medical Progress and led the ground-breaking ‘Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts’ investigation that was first released last summer. The Hill, 28 June 2016, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/lobbying-world/285122-planned-parenthoods-illicit-body-parts-scheme ]
New Evidence Planned Parenthood Broke Federal Law, Lied to Women
In response to a congressional panel’s recent discoveries regarding Planned Parenthood’s business dealings with StemExpress, leaders from pro-life organizations pleaded for the reassignment of taxpayer dollars funding Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood’s business partnership with StemExpress not only transgressed federal fetal trafficking laws, but also abused the privacy of women requesting abortions and deceitfully obtained consent for the use of their children’s aborted tissue, a congressional panel has discovered.
Earlier this month, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel uncovered contracts between Planned Parenthood and StemExpress revealing the two have violated federal regulations regarding the sale of aborted baby parts and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). These recent findings prompted leaders from pro-life organizations to send a letter to House leaders today pleading for them to reassign taxpayer dollars currently funding Planned Parenthood.
The letter, addressed to representatives including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, declared Planned Parenthood’s illicit trade with StemExpress has violated “federal law and regulations,” “patient privacy and safety,” and “basic human dignity.”
“Earlier this month, the Panel revealed the actual contracts between some of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country and StemExpress,” the letter noted, quoting a Planned Parenthood service agreement attached to the Select Panel’s findings.
“These contracts, such as the one with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, provide that Planned Parenthood will bill StemExpress $55 for every fetal organ ‘determined in the clinic to be usable’ that StemExpress is able to procure.”
Testimonies at the April 20 hearing on “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue” already established that the partnership between Planned Parenthood and StemExpress most likely violated federal regulations. These actual contracts provide proof.
The panel didn’t only discover violations of fetal trafficking laws. According to the letter, three weeks ago the panel sent a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services board regarding discovered HIPAA violations, stating that “Each time that an abortion clinic employee shared a medical chart with a StemExpress employee, both violated the HIPAA privacy rule,” because “the disclosures of patients’ PHI made by the abortion clinics, and received by StemExpress, were neither required nor permitted under HIPAA.” According to the panel’s complaint,
The Panel’s investigation has uncovered information indicating that StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific and Family Planning Specialists Medical Group committed systematic violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (‘HIPAA’) privacy rule from about 2010 to 2015. These violations occurred when the abortion clinics disclosed patients’ individually identifiable health information to StemExpress to facilitate the TPB’s efforts to procure human fetal tissue for resale.
The panel also found that even after consent was obtained from the mother to harvest the fetal tissue, “the patient consent form used at Planned Parenthood to get alleged ‘permission’ from pregnant women to harvest their babies’ body parts after abortions ‘was grossly insufficient.’” Although the form claims that aborted baby tissue will be used to treat illnesses like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, cancer, and Parkinson’s, such treatments and cures do not exist.
The letter goes on to quote Dr. Lawrence Goldstein, a stem cell scientist at University of California-San Diego and a financial donor to Planned Parenthood who has used Planned Parenthood-provided aborted fetal brain in the past. At the March 2016 “The Bioethics of Fetal Tissue” Select Investigative Panel hearing, Goldstein admitted that the language of cures and treatments on the patient consent forms was “an inappropriate statement that should not have been made on that form. I don’t know who wrote it, that would not have made it past my IRB.”
As the authors of the letter noted, “with approximately 25,000 patients seeking abortions and pregnancy tests at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte each year,” this Planned Parenthood location alone exposed the private medical information of “hundreds of thousands of women” in its partnership with StemExpress.
Calling these arrangements “nothing short of barbaric,” the letter went on to include excerpts from emails between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood employees the Select Panel discovered:
Planned Parenthood provided such intimate access to StemExpress into its patient medical records that the company could email customers from the clinic offering what fetal ‘specimens’ were available to purchase that day. ‘There will be some potentials tomorrow, would you like to be on the schedule?’ a StemExpress representative emailed in reply to a customer’s grim query: ‘How is the pancreas forecast today – any possible procurements?’ Another StemExpress customer emailed on April 13, 2015: ‘i [sic] also wanted to put in another order of 4 normal fetal brains distributed as before […] please send me a quote for the same.
While these representative findings are from merely a few Planned Parenthood locations, such as Mar Monte, the letter added the Select Panel has discovered that such illicit behavior is prominent throughout the country, with almost 1 in 5 abortion sites selling fetal tissue to StemExpress as of last year.
The letter concluded with a plea to reassign taxpayer funding to the “13,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers across the country that provide comprehensive, full-spectrum health care regardless of patients’ ability to pay.”
“They outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics nearly 20 to 1. There is no need, and no justification whatsoever to continue to spend over half-a-billion taxpayer dollars each year on Planned Parenthood’s lawless and unaccountable abortion business.”
Twenty pro-life leaders signed this plea, including Tom McClusky of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund and David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress.
[June 24, 2016, Ramona Tausz, http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/24/new-evidence-planned-parenthood-broke-federal-law-lied-to-women/ ]