In a letter to the National Institutes of Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards says the non-profit will no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue donations. Richards writes that her goal is to remove the “smokescreen” being used to attack both PP and legal abortion services.

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The Center for Medical Progress has done a pretty good job persuading persuadable Republicans that Planned Parenthood is “selling baby parts,” leading to a string of hearings and perpetual Congressional investigations. (David Daleiden, the man behind the CMP, still has yet to testify before Congress himself, and no one, evidently, has any plans to subpoena him to do so.)

Meanwhile, Richards wrote in her letter to the NIH, which we saw via The Hill, Planned Parenthood is choosing to end the legal practice of accepting reimbursement for the costs of fetal tissue donation. She writes:

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The participation by a handful of our affiliates in supporting women who choose to make fetal tissue donation has always been about nothing other than honoring the desire of those women and contributing to life-saving research and cures. In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using – and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks – our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research. That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses – even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law. Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law.

Richards says that the allegations against Planned Parenthood remain “categorically false,” She adds that she’s not advocating for anyone else to stop taking reimbursement or arguing that the laws around it need to change:

I want to be completely clear about two things: First, Planned Parenthood’s policies on fetal tissue donation already exceed the legal requirements. Now we’re going even further in order to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda. And, second, our decision not to take any reimbursement for expenses should not be interpreted as a suggestion that anyone else should not take reimbursement or that the law in this area isn’t strong. Our decision is first and foremost about preserving the ability of our patients to donate tissue, and to expose our opponents’ false charges about this limited but important work.

Meanwhile, Daleiden’s rhetoric remains as even and fact-based as ever.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Richards testifying before the House Oversight Committee, September 29, 2015. Photo via AP Images