A recent undercover investigative journalism project has highlighted the illegal sale of baby body parts by abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The Centre for Medical Progress, headed by David Daleiden has conducted a 30 month undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood and Stem Express. The results of the project have shown not only the vulnerability of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, but the extent of illegality and malpractice that has been happening for years. Many Americans are horrified to see the reality of abortion for the very first time. Planned Parenthood directors have been joking about buying Lamborghinis with body parts, while casually describing dismembering baby infants over wine and salad. The expose highlights the new rules of exponential organisations: a 25 year old with a board of 3 can challenge a multi billion dollar organisation: this is the new rules for organisations.
The scandal itself has been of an unimaginatively disgusting topic. It has revolved around the federal crime of sale of aborted babies body parts for profit. There is clear evidence on the films that illegal practice is taking place, and that directors at the most senior level are involved in corruption. There has been talk of changing the abortion procedure to help get body parts intact, and discussion on how rules can be circumvented easily.
Many major media outlets have refused to cover the story, preferring to focus on the death of Cecil the lion by an American dentist. Even liberals have been shocked by the bias and unprofessionalism of media outlets in refusing to cover the story. Planned Parenthood hired a PR firm to deal with the story. But even the PR firm has taken steps to distance itself from Planned Parenthood by deleting references on its website. A series of legal suits has also challenged the Centre for Medical Progress by Stem Express and the National Abortion Federation. Planned Parenthood have hardly represented themselves in the media to defend themselves from allegations. In Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals, its often what your opposition thinks you have which can be the challenge. Daleiden and CMP have said that there are 10 to 12 videos in total which has caused a great deal of fear of what might be next for abortion providers. Planned Parenthood have been accused of deliberately sabotaging their own website a day after hiring a PR firm to help present themselves as victims.
The story has generated considerable political consequences. Many states have ordered an investigation into Planned Parenthood to question whether there are illegal sales of body parts happening. Republicans have initiated a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Even Hillary Clinton has said that the videos were disturbing before giving her full support to the abortion giant. Whether the political ties to Planned Parenthood generates into a major political story is yet to be seen. President Obama was even bold enough to give a shout out of support to Planned Parenthood in the height of the crisis and a promise to veto any legislation attempting to defund half a Billion dollars of federal funding. The White House’s defence of Planned Parenthood has been based on Planned Parenthood’s statements so far. Dr Nucatola, who featured on the first video, has ties to White House policy. It is possible that a refusal to agree a budget in the Autumn would lead to another Government shut down. The scandal highlights political cronyism of the worst variety: politicians help provide money for Planned Parenthood, who in turn help to fund the organisation while in power.
One of the the most exciting aspects of the story is that public opinion is showing signs of changing. Rev Frank Pavone wrote for USA today to highlight how graphic pictures are crucial in the abortion debate and how minds are changing on the issue. Despite the lack of media coverage, the scandal was the most trending topic on facebook and many Americans have been horrified by the nature of the story. Women Betrayed rallies have happened across the United States. Some pro-life activists have compared the moment to Emmett Till’s funeral for the Black Civil Rights movement. For the pro-life movement, some are concerned of the ethics of undercover journalism, but for others it is a sign of hope and change.
What might the future hold? Many have compared the story to the ACORN controversy that ended the organisation very quickly thanks to the journalism of James O’Keefe. Others recognise that if the reputation of Planned Parenthood is completely trashed, it will be hard to recover. Planned Parenthood continues to have considerable political and financial clout. But the exposure of more scandal, corruption and lies could undermine and lead to the end of the organisation once and for all.