In a new video released Tuesday by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, a former StemExpress employee said the company’s procurement technicians inside Planned Parenthood clinics were paid bonuses based on the number and type of fetal body parts they collected.
What did the whistleblower say?
In the latest installment of a series of videos featuring Holly O’Donnell, a former StemExpress procurement technician, O’Donnell said StemExpress staff working inside Planned Parenthood clinics were given bonuses for fetal body parts in “really high demand.”
“You get more money for tissues like if you got a brain or liver versus like [a] blood sample,” O’Donnell said, explaining that different body parts were divided by category with corresponding pay.
“It’s incentive for you to do your job better,” she said. “If you really do your job, and you get up to 11 to 20 specimens, you’re getting $20 per specimen. If it’s one to 10, you’re doing just blood, you’re getting $10 for one blood draw, that’s what you get.”
Planned Parenthood also allegedly received payment from StemExpress, a biomedical company, for each usable specimen it collected.
O’Donnell said one of the doctors in the clinic would perform abortions in “fast and vicious” way and workers were “numb” to it.
She said she wasn’t allowed to counsel women who were unsure about their decision.
“If I got caught doing that, that would be me getting in trouble with my company,” she said, adding that procuring tissue was “not an option, it’s a demand.”
O’Donnell said there were occasions in which she mislead StemExpress about how many patients were in the clinic that day if women were too upset to talk to her about donating fetal tissue.
Is there an investigation?
The Center for Medical Progress’ videos prompted an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood was profiting from the sale of aborted fetal body parts to researchers. Selling human body parts for profit — including those of the unborn — is illegal in the United States. Planned Parenthood denied illegal conduct and said they were donating tissue to researchers.
Following a congressional investigation last year, the House Select Panel on Infant Lives referred StemExpress to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 – or HIPAA — a law that protects patient privacy.
After its own investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee also referred several Planned Parenthood affiliates and StemExpress, among others, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation. At the time, the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said the parties in question displayed “disregard for the law” and urged the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate.
The Hill reported Monday that the FBI has requested the unredacted documents the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained from abortion providers, a potential signal that it's investigating the allegations of trafficking fetal body parts.
What did the Center for Medical Progress say?
In a statement, David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, said, “The evidence is now overwhelming that StemExpress and Planned Parenthood engaged in a profit-driven business together to harvest and sell aborted fetuses against the law.”
“The FBI’s inquiry into the human atrocity of Planned Parenthood’s criminal abortion business is long overdue and law enforcement must move quickly to bring this barbaric enterprise to justice under the law,” Daleiden said.
What did Planned Parenthood say?
In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said that it was aware of the criminal referral made by the committee, and none of its affiliates have been in contact with the FBI.
“Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong,” Dana Singiser, vice president of government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said.
“These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research,” Singiser added.