Bioethics Blogs

Investigating Two Claims Against Planned Parenthood: Center of Medical Progress’s Secret Videos

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Before you being reading, I have a disclaimer: Growing up, my mother worked for Planned Parenthood. As a nurse, she practiced in their clinics offering well women services, counseling, and contraception. After many years, she went on to direct their clinic’s in vitro fertilization program. I also heard the word “Planned Parenthood” stated with a quick northeastern accent. Said that way, as a child, I thought the place was called “Plant Parenthood” and wondered what plants had to do with women’s health.

Ironically, despite the numerous bomb threats while she worked there, her clinic did not perform abortions. I always viewed my mom as doing important community health work for women who could not get services elsewhere because of finances, lack of education, or living in fearful relationships.

By now you have seen parts of the Center for Medical Progress’s videos regarding secretly recorded conversations with two leaders from Planned Parenthood. In their original release (8:51 minutes), the videos were edited to appear to show that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal organs—an illegal and unethical enterprise. As the full video (2:42:22 hours) was released, it became clear that Planned Parenthood was donating organs and only requested to receive reimbursement to cover their costs for preparing and donating the fetal tissue—a legal and (debatably) ethical enterprise.

The Center for Medical Progress pretended to be a biologics company and secretly recorded these conversations. It is a bit of a mysterious organization. They list a postal box as their address. They claim a 30-month investigation, but did not exist on the Internet until a few weeks ago.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.