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Medical Ethicist Calls Alleged Planned Parenthood Practice “Clearly Unethical”

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John Burger - published on 07/18/15

Arthur Caplan critical of "manipulating fetus in the preserve certain organs for researchers”

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, said that a practice that a Planned Parenthood official describes in the stealth video released this week is “clearly unethical,” the New York Times reports.

That practice is “manipulating the fetus in the womb and using surgical tools in ways meant to preserve certain organs for researchers,” the Times said.

“You cannot, must not, alter how or when you do an abortion simply to obtain tissues you want,” said Caplan. “Basically, the only concern is the health and safety of the mother.”

In the sting video that has gotten federal and state officials to vow investigations into the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describes how abortionists can avoid damaging the torso of an unborn child’s body so that certain organs are not damaged. According to the transcript of the video produced by the Center for Medical Progress, she said:

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.
And with the calvarium [head], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards apologized for the “tone and statements” Nucatola took in discussing the procedure over a wine-and-salmon lunch with actors posing as representatives of a biotech company interested in purchasing fetal tissue and organs from Planned Parenthood affiliates.

“In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,” Richards says in a video statement released Thursday.

But Richards defended what critics are calling the “selling” of parts of aborted babies for medical research. She claimed the “sales” are never done for profit and that the women having the abortions gave their consent. She called the body parts “tissue” that contributes to “life-saving research.”

Dennis Sullivan, director of the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University Cedarville, Ohio, said in an interview with TheBlaze that the way in which Nucatola allegedly described how some organs can be harvested creates questions about whether organ procurement is taking precedence over the abortion itself.

AbortionPlanned Parenthood
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