Planned Parenthood video causes stir

By | January 7, 2010

In the undercover video, the would-be abortion candidates ask if the pregnant woman’s 10-week-old unborn child has a heartbeat. Both the counselor and the abortionist can be seen and heard telling the young women that babies do not have heartbeats until 17 weeks; that a baby is not a baby until birth; and that an abortion is safer than childbirth.

The counselor emphasizes “heart tones,” and answers, “Heart beat is when the fetus is active in the uterus — can survive — which is about 17 or 18 weeks.”

The Planned Parenthood counselor then says, “A fetus is what’s in the uterus right now. That is not a baby.”

Dr. Gary Prohaska, the abortion practitioner at the Appleton facility, insists “It’s not a baby at this stage or anything like that.”

He goes on to say that having an abortion will be “much safer than having a baby,” warning, “You know, women die having babies.”

Prominent embryologists, Drs. Dianne Irving and Ward Kischer, who serve on the American Bioethics Advisory Commission, told Dec. 10 that information presented during the counseling session was “scientifically erroneous and absurd.”

Christina Pallini, Respect Life consultant for the Diocese of Green Bay, points to “Langman’s Medical Embryology: North American Edition” by Thomas W. Sadler (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009), a textbook “standard for all medical aspects,” which states that “development of the human being begins at fertilization.”

“Fertilization is when the egg and sperm unite,” explained Pallini. “Like a very small fruit that becomes a larger fruit, and a very small animal becomes a larger animal, so does a very small human being — an embryo — become a larger human being. This is a scientific fact, not opinion.”

She stated that scientific evidence clearly proves that the heart of an unborn child begins beating at around three weeks into the pregnancy — before most women realize they are pregnant.

Lila Rose, Live Action’s president, said that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is clearly deceiving women. “Our team has visited dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics undercover. Planned Parenthood, while claiming to support patient self-determination, operates with an ‘abortion-first’ mentality.”

The undercover video, which can be viewed at, came one month after the resignation of Abby Johnson, center director for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. During an interview with Fox News, Johnson stated that, “Planned Parenthood really tries to instill in their employees and the women that are coming in for abortions that this is not a baby.”

“Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar organization with nearly $350 million of government funding, and stands to gain hundreds of millions more from national health care,” said Rose. “Do we really want to subsidize an organization that gives women in need atrocious misinformation and predatory abortion practices?”

An open records request, made by Pro-Life Wisconsin earlier this year, revealed that in 2008, five Wisconsin counties wrote checks to Planned Parenthood. Among those counties is Outagamie County, where the Appleton Planned Parenthood is located. Outagamie County paid Planned Parenthood a total of $10,872.59 in 2008.

In addition to these county funds, the Appleton Planned Parenthood received $429,462.88 in 2007 under Wisconsin’s Family Planning Waiver Program. In total, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin received $15.82 million. Through this federal/state program, minors as young as 15 receive free birth control, without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

“Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is the state’s number one abortion provider, both surgical and chemical. Planned Parenthood has proven they do not know, or they care to ignore, basic facts about human development,” said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “Our affiliates have prayed and sidewalk counseled at this location for years, and we have seen firsthand the damage caused by this abortion facility.”

Responding to the early-December release of the undercover video, Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman called on authorities to investigate and declared that state legislators should “make sure Planned Parenthood doesn’t mislead young girls like this in the future.”

Grothman stated that, “the medical society should begin an immediate investigation into what was said, as to whether (Prohaska) should continue to have a medical license.” According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics, “the physician’s obligation is to present the medical facts accurately to the patient.”

“Hopefully, charges will be filed against Appleton Planned Parenthood as has been done elsewhere in the country,” said Virginia Zignego, communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. “County board members and other elected state officials from these communities need to hear from their constituents that they don’t want their tax dollars used to fund this kind of activity.”

Zignego also encouraged concerned members of the community to show the undercover video to friends, relatives and neighbors. “This is a unique opportunity to counteract Planned Parenthood’s persuasive marketing practices. The more young people see this, the better they’ll understand that it’s not the organization many have been led to believe.”

In a statement released by Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Prohaska provided “honest, medically accurate” information. Huyck said the videos were edited.

Live Action said it has sent the full and unedited footage to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider for review. Grothman said he would “assume the local district attorney will check into this.”

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