The latest in a series of videos on Planned Parenthood features testimony from a former technician who says she worked with the clinics to procure tissue from aborted babies without the mother’s consent. “Basically you just went in there and took her blood, and now you’re going to take her fetus without her knowing,” Holly O’Donnell, a former “blood and tissue procurement technician” for the California-based biotech company StemExpress, which partnered with California Planned Parenthood clinics to obtain fetal tissue specimens. “Imagine if you were an abortion patient and someone was just going in and stealing your baby’s parts,” she reflected in the video. “It’s just terrible.” Describing the process used to procure fetal tissue, O'Donnell said that “if there was a higher gestation, and the technicians needed it, there were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.” O’Donnell also questioned abortion procedures’ emotional impact on women, and the practices of her former co-workers to utilize this emotional stress to obtain fetal body parts. “There’s a reason why they keep journals in the recovery room. If abortion was a good thing, there wouldn’t be so much emotional damage from it,” she commented, explaining that she was often reprimanded for not pressuring women into consenting to medical research. Furthermore, the technicians would collaborate with the Planned Parenthood clinics days in advance to determine the number of patients seeking abortions and how far into their pregnancy they were, O’Donnell said. By federal law, any procurement of fetal tissue for research must be done with the consent of the mother. O’Donnell’s testimony calls into question Planned Parenthood’s practices in relation to the law. The video is the latest in a series of reports on “Human Capital” by the citizen journalist group Center for Medical Progress. It is the result of a three-year investigative study of Planned Parenthood and its transfer of body parts of aborted babies for money. The videos have sparked a national conversation about the use of fetal body parts from aborted babies for medical research, as well as a call for an end to funding for Planned Parenthood. Earlier videos in the undercover series showed top Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the price of body parts of aborted babies with actors who presented themselves as representatives of tissue procurement companies. Previous videos showed discussion of the “donation” of body parts of aborted babies for “reasonable” compensation, detailed explanation of how the abortion process could be changed to ensure intact body parts, and footage of abortion technicians discussing the available organs of recently aborted patients. The most recent video also featured the director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, discussing the possibility of altering the abortion procedure to have a higher chance of obtaining “intact” baby organs. The National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 explicitly prohibits changing an abortion procedure solely to obtain fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood maintains that their actions are legal. However, the strong reaction to the videos has prompted congressional investigations, and several states have moved to stop funding the organization. Wednesday’s video is the second part of O’Donnell testimony. After the first portion was released, StemExpress filed a formal complaint with a federal district court, citing invasion of privacy and breach of contract among other complaints. The company asked for and received an injunction on any more videos being released by the Center for Medical Progress, lasting several weeks. The group responded by releasing their next two videos featuring Planned Parenthood officials in states other than California.
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