Back in 2009, I wrote a column about the commercialization of body parts “harvested” from aborted babies, but my editor at the time spiked it.

My source was, a website run by pro-life activists, who called Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, “the Amazon of the fetal parts industry.”

But my editor told me that was an unreliable source. Apparently, the idea that abortionists would market the heads, torsos, hearts, lungs, livers and other portions of the unborn was an inherently unbelievable idea.

I don’t blame my editor for thinking that. I also had difficulty believing such an inhumane atrocity could occur, but the account was well-sourced, and I thought it deserved attention.

To my surprise, however, within a week ABC News actually aired a report substantially affirming Lifesite’s account. My boss conceded that if I cited the ABC report, I could publish the column, and I did.

But then the story lay fallow – until a video was released last week showing a top-level Planned Parenthood official discussing ways to “crush” a baby in the womb so as to preserve the valuable parts.

On the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, sips from a glass of wine while telling undercover pro-life activists posing as “customers” from the “Center for Medical Progress” that:

“… You’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

This, although federal law says recipients of fetal tissue may have “no part in any decisions as to the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy made solely for the purposes of research.”

But media disbelief hasn’t vanished. Otherwise, why would the three major networks and CNN fail to mention the video on their Sunday panel shows? (Yes, Fox News covered it. How biased of them.)

Congressional Republicans have vowed an investigation (apparently Democrats there approve of “targeted crushing”).

One beneficiary of Planned Parenthood’s baby parts largesse is Stem Express, which advertises a price of $24,250 for a vial of 5 million “cryopreserved” fetal liver cells. And in a brochure, it offers clinical researchers “a financial benefit to your clinic” that will insure “fiscal growth.”

If this discussion proves nothing else, at least it shows the claim that the unborn are “just masses of tissue” is false. Tissue masses don’t have hearts and livers and brains and lungs. Babies do.

Planned Parenthood, which made $1.3 billion last year and got nearly half that amount, $528 million, in state and federal grants (your tax dollars at work), aborted 327,653 babies last year. Still, as its director, Cecile Richards, noted last week, the “transfer” of baby body parts for research remains legal, if patients consent.

However, reimbursements for the “costs” of such transfers apparently remain highly negotiable. Abby Johnson, who ran a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas and wrote a book about it, “Unplanned,” told The Washington Times this week that those payments have no legal upper limit and negotiating them is a “subjective” process.

On Tuesday, the activists released a second video (more are said to be on the way), this one showing Dr. Mary Gatter, a medical director at Planned Parenthood centers in California, conducting one of these “subjective” negotiations.

Gatter said she didn’t want to “lowball” the price and said she would have to check to see what other centers were charging.

She added that she “wouldn’t object” to asking abortionists to use a “less crunchy” vacuum method to help keep organs intact.

However, she noted that could potentially violate the federal agreements that patients and providers must sign, verifying the intent to donate the aborted remains and certifying that abortions yielding research parts are absolutely identical to ones that don’t.

But Gatter said, “I think that’s a specious little argument,” and added, “I don’t think our patients would care one iota, so, yeah, I’m not making a fuss about that.”

Gatter then told investigators, who offered a $100-per-sample price, “Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine, if it’s still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini.”

Then she giggled. Some joke.

In response, Planned Parenthood resorted to a “kill-the-messenger” strategy, trying to spin the videos as “edited and out of context.” But the full versions are online, and no one has offered any context to make them less atrocious.

So why is this (multiple adjectives deleted) organization getting one red cent of taxpayer money?

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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