(Charlestown, MA 06/14/15) Attorney General Maura Healey, attends the during the 30th Annual Bunker Hill Associates Breakfast at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Charlestown on Sunday, June 14, 2015 (Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi)
Boston Herald Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Attorney General Maura Healey is blasting the debate in Washington over defunding Planned Parenthood as “the most recent offensive in a decades long campaign to cut off women’s access to health care,” according to an email she fired off to supporters yesterday.
That missive quickly led abortion opponents to accuse the state’s top law enforcement officer of taking a political stance they say disqualifies her from probing whether the women’s health provider is scoring illegal profits from fetal parts. That charge has been leveled by anti-abortion activists in a series of disturbing undercover videos of staffers at Planned Parenthood and another abortion provider.
“I’ve had enough. The latest attacks in Washington on Planned Parenthood are nothing new,” Healey wrote in the email. “This debate in Congress? There’s simply no ‘there’ there. … For the sake of those women and their families, let’s put this smoke-and-mirrors ‘debate’ to rest. Standing up for women’s health care means standing with Planned Parenthood.”
Opponents were quick to seize on Healey’s message, which was sent out just days after she cleared the state’s chapter of Planned Parenthood in the scandal.
The anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress has recharged the national debate on abortion after releasing secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood officials cavalierly discussing the harvesting of organs and tissue from aborted fetuses for research.
The videos have yet to produce a smoking gun showing Planned Parenthood raked in illegal profits from their sale, but they have raised enough questions that Republicans in Congress have called for a probe; their move to defund the group fell short.
“It’s not a smart thing to do for a politician to take such a public advocacy stance, particularly in her position, on something that she may be ruling on down the road,” said Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. “So she’s going to have to plan on recusing herself.
“If she were dog catcher or something it wouldn’t matter, but in her position, for her to make these statements, it makes it kind of embarrassing to be a citizen of Massachusetts.”
Healey, who declined to comment, has been a poster pol for Planned Parenthood, crediting its endorsement as “a game changer for my campaign” for AG, according to a posting featured prominently on the website of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which donated $1,256 to her.
“Obviously your attorney general is in the tank for Planned Parenthood and refuses to weigh the evidence like a prosecutor ought to,” Center for Medical Progress board member Troy Newman told the Herald. “She is taking something that is a simple law and order matter and turning it into a political issue and burying her head in the sand.”
Healey quickly cleared the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts of any wrongdoing after con- ducting a review at the behest of state Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover). But she never looked into whether local research centers are paying for fetal tissue.
“The review was limited to what we were asked to review,” according to a Healey spokeswoman.
Lyons said he’s weighing a request for a broader investigation.
“I view what the five videos have shown in a completely different light than the attorney general,” he said. “Clearly, it seems to me that we could have looked at other areas … and we did not ask her to do that. But we are looking into the regulations for companies that are buying these specimens,” he said.
CONFLICT: PROSECUTOR ON BOARD OF GROUP BEING INVESTIGATED
But boss says she’ll be insulated from probe into Planned Parenthood’s actions
In an apparent conflict of interest, investigators in the office of the prosecuting attorney in Houston will be probing an organization for whom one of their colleagues serves as a board member.
But Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson says a special prosecutor for an investigation into allegations Planned Parenthood is selling body parts of aborted babies would be needed only if more “reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation.”
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder membership on the Planned Parenthood board already has prompted calls for an independent prosecutor to handle the case.
Essentially, Reeder’s colleagues will consider possible criminal charges against a group she helps lead.
Reeder’s membership on the Planned Parenthood board was highlighted by Operation Rescue, the pro-life organization that once purchased a building used by an abortionist to shut down his abortion business.
The president of OR, Troy Newman, serves on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, a group that carried out an video sting operation that caught Planned Parenthood executives discussing the selling of body parts.
Pertinent in the Houston case are statements by Melissa Farrell of the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast, one of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country.
“If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items,” she said.
Federal law prohibits buying or selling baby parts.
OR, which called on Anderson to appoint a special, independent prosecutor, said Reeder is listed as a non-compensated director on the 990 tax form for 2015 filed by the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
On Monday, OR issued a statement renewing its call to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and District Attorney Devon Anderson to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate Planned Parenthood.
“There are too many questions about the independence of the Harris County district attorney’s office with a Planned Parenthood board member on hand,” Newman said.
Newman noted that a grand jury working with the same office previously failed to indict a Houston abortion provider “despite ample photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony of late-term babies being born alive and intentionally killed.”
He said the public “needs to be assured that an impartial investigation will be conducted on the facts and not on a personal political agenda.”
The Houston DA’s office declined WND’s request for comment.
Anderson, according to the Chronicle, said Reeder would not be part of the investigation into Planned Parenthood.
Patrick made the initial request that Anderson’s office open a criminal investigation into the evidence of Planned Parenthood’s aborted baby trafficking activities as the result of CMP videos.
One video shows Farrell talking about compensation for intact cadavers.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s just too way much smoke blowing Planned Parenthood’s way in Harris County for us to feel remotely comfortable that Anderson’s office can conduct a fair and impartial investigation,” said Newman.
WND reported earlier on a case rising to the Supreme Court over a secret Obama administration plan to fund Planned Parenthood after a state withdrew its funding.
When CMP released its fifth video, WND reported Farrell was discussing the bodies of unborn babies, saying “it’s all just a matter of line items” for “intact fetal cadavers” or dissections from them.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he was “very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff” in videos.
“Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization,” he said.
In the videos, one Planned Parenthood haggling over the sale of baby body parts declares she like to buy a Lamborghini and another talks about salvaging certain saleable body parts by crushing surrounding parts.
An old story
WND also has reported that as horrific as the videos appear, they should surprise no one, since such practices have been documented for nearly two decades.
One price list uncovered by a pro-life organization dated June 1998 shows that the price per specimen from a second trimester abortion is $90 “fresh” and $130 frozen.
Mark Crutcher, whose Life Dynamics organization was a ground-breaker in investigating the abortion behemoth that gets some $500 million annually from U.S. taxpayers, worked on the investigation.
His group reported in February 2000 how the baby parts market works: “A baby parts ‘wholesaler’ enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic in which the wholesaler pays a monthly ‘site fee’ to the clinic. For this payment, the wholesaler is allowed to place a retrieval agent inside the clinic where he or she is given access to the corpses of children killed there and a workspace to harvest their parts.”
He continued: “The buyer – usually a researcher working for a medical school, pharmaceutical company, bio-tech company or government agency – supplies the wholesaler with a list of the baby parts wanted. … when such orders are received … they are faxed to the retrieval agent at the clinic who harvests the requested parts and ships them to the buyer.”
The documentation was provided to Life Dynamics by a worker who left Comprehensive Health for Women, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas.
Among the documents was a “Fee-for-Services” Schedule A, effective June 1998, which outlined a charge of $220 per specimen for first-trimester aspiration abortions and $260 if the baby parts were frozen.
Crutcher’s report, citing Planned Parenthood’s own paperwork, found that one agent sold during February 1996 alone 47 livers, 11 liver fragments, seven brains, 21 eyes, eight thymuses, 23 legs, 14 pancreases, 14 lungs, six arms and one kidney-adrenal gland.
He also sold three orders of blood from the unborn child. The retrieval agent “harvested all of the parts,” the report said, explaining that “in order for the blood of an aborted child to be sold, the dead baby had to be brought to him intact.”
The “specimens,” the report said, would have generated up to about $25,000 in revenue for one month from one retrieval agent at one Planned Parenthood business.
Crutcher reported that the tissue logs reveal that one baby is often chopped up and sold to many buyers.
For example, babies taken from donors 113968 and 114189 were both killed late in their second trimester and cut into nine pieces. By applying the price list, buyers would have been invoiced between $3,510 and $5,070 for the parts, he said.