“This new policy removes beyond the shadow of a doubt the ludicrous idea that Planned Parenthood has any financial interest in tissue donation — and shows the real agenda behind these attacks,” says Cecile Richards
Washington, DC —Taking away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood’s limited work in fetal tissue donation — and showing that the real purpose of these attacks has nothing to do with fetal tissue donation, and everything to do with banning abortion — Planned Parenthood today said that the handful of its health centers involved in fetal tissue research will no longer accept any reimbursement.
Reimbursement for reasonable expenses related to tissue donation is fully legal, appropriate, and common among health care providers. Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states help their patients who wish to participate in fetal tissue research.
“As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, our promise to both our patients and the medical community is that we will never bow to political pressure and we will never back down from advancing women’s health every way we can,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“This removes beyond the shadow of a doubt the ludicrous idea that Planned Parenthood has any financial interest in fetal tissue donation – and shows the real agenda behind these attacks. This policy takes away the smokescreen that extremists have been using to attack Planned Parenthood, and lays bare their real agenda. When the attacks in Washington and in states continue, as we unfortunately expect they will, let it be clear once and for all that that they have nothing to do with concern over fetal tissue donation and everything to do with banning abortion in the U.S.,” Richards said.
Women who visit Planned Parenthood health centers for safe and legal abortion regularly express a desire to donate tissue for research, but Planned Parenthood affiliates in only two states (California and Washington) are currently involved in fetal tissue donation, and a Planned Parenthood affiliate in a third state (Oregon) is currently involved in placenta tissue donation. While their reasons are as complex and personal as their decision to end their pregnancies, said one woman, Kate, about her decision to donate tissue to research after ending her second pregnancy, “It gave me a little bit of closure to know I’m making a difference. I gave back a little. I did a little bit of good here. This shouldn’t have to stop happening. People should always have this option.”
Since July, the health and medical communities have also spoken out about the past and present value of fetal tissue for scientific research. “Any discussion of the ethics of fetal tissue research must begin with its unimpeachable claim to have saved the lives and health of millions of people,” wrote R. Alta Charo, J.D., in the New England Journal of Medicine, because of fetal tissue’s role in the development of vaccines. The Department of Health and Human Services wrote to Congress in August, “Fetal tissue continues to be a critical resource for important efforts such as research on degenerative eye disease, human development disorders such as Down syndrome, and infectious diseases, among a host of other diseases.” Recently over forty of the nation’s leading medical institutions — including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, University of Washington, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University — wrote an open letter in support of fetal tissue research, explaining “vital medical research depends on continued use of fetal tissue under current laws and regulations.”
While Congress has continued to investigate Planned Parenthood despite public statements from Rep. Jason Chaffetz that he has uncovered no wrongdoing after examining more than 22,000 pages of material provided by Planned Parenthood to his committee, Planned Parenthood has continued to focus on providing high-quality, compassionate health care, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing, and abortion services to women, men, and young people in need. In the weeks since investigation of Planned Parenthood has begun, Planned Parenthood has opened new health centers, continued construction on several others, expanded online health services in Alaska so people can get care no matter where they live through their mobile phones, and launched Let’s Talk Month to help parents and teens talk about healthy relationships.
And in spite of this smear campaign, Planned Parenthood has retained its position as one of the nation’s top charities. Twelve national polls in the past few months have found broad, deep support for Planned Parenthood and the health care the organization provides. And just two weeks ago, the country saw millions of supporters online and at 300 events across the country rally to stand with Planned Parenthood for Pink Out Day.
To read the full letter to the NIH click HERE: http://ppfa.pr-optout.com/ViewAttachment.aspx?EID=mr9WXYw4u2IxYnni1dBRVmiqCFHVBXQWHDzndIMBxKo%3d
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 13, 2015