by Tia Will
Disclosure : While I do not have any direct affiliation with Planned Parenthood or StemExpress, I do have a casual acquaintance who is an acquaintance of the StemExpress executive interviewed here.
First 24 seconds:
“Oh, Yeah. Sometimes if we have intact cases, we ship those back to our lab in their entirety.”
* As previously explained, an intact fetus is the best outcome for the researchers, the procedure performing doctor and the patient. Outcomes which are more gentle for the tissue obtained also are gentler on the mother. Why better for the doctor? Because the less tissue trauma involved, the less chance of complication.
Visual statement over a scene from an unidentified clinic:
“StemExpress has partnered with Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country to harvest aborted baby parts since its founding in 2010.”
This is a factual statement which of course does not include the obvious point that if these tissues were not being “harvested” for medical research, they would be discarded as bio hazardous waste. Do even those of us who do not like abortion really believe this to be a superior outcome ?
“Former StemExpress employees say the company paid Planned Parenthood $50 to $75 per baby body part.”
The fact that former StemExpress employees (such as Holly O’Donnell) have said this does not make it true. The veracity of this comment was addressed by Dr. Nucatola who made it clear repetitively that monies paid to Planned Parenthood from StemExpress were for the time of the personnel needed to obtain informed consent, and the time of the technicians to process and package the fetal tissue. Dr. Nucatola further made it clear that if the transferring agency were to perform all of these functions there would be no charge. A zero charge would obviously not be a profit for PP just as it would not be for any company choosing to give away any item. A charge of zero is not a sale, no matter how much Mr. Daleiden would like to make it seem so. So the charge must be for something else, namely the time, labor, equipment and technical expertise of the doctors, nurses and technicians.
There are then presented yellow highlighted statements from an informational web page describing the activities of StemExpress . These statements include the header of a paragraph labeled Financial Benefits. Since StemExpress is a for-profit company, I would hardly find it surprising that they have a statement about the financial well being of their company which is intended to profit from the transport of fetal tissues which is legal, not from the “sale of baby parts,” which is of course illegal. Again this is the purpose of StemExpress, not the purpose of Planned Parenthood.
Approximately 1:30 to 2:15:
A largely inaudible comment from the female interviewer about the volume and types of tissue that she has been involved in procuring in which she implies that there are private practitioners who do not generate enough tissue for the company to make a profit by transfer. Cate Dyer agrees, stating that “there is a lot of misinformation out there.” And continues by stating that, in order to decide about partnering with the Daleiden group, StemExpress would need to know what kind of volume of tissue would likely be involved.
- Setting aside the emotional disturbance over the nature of the tissue being transported, do any of you, particularly the business owners and managers, believe that it is not simply sound business practice to understand the volume of material to be acquired and transported ?
Female interviewer inquires about intact specimens.
Cate Dyer responds:
“Oh, yeah. In cases of intact specimens, we have transferred those intact to our facility”
- I have previously explained how some research facilities can utilize tissues of various types, while other facilities will only have the capacity to utilize particular tissue types such as liver or thymus or CNS tissue.
From about 2:50-4:52:
Cate Dyer is responding to a question about the problems involved with tissue procurement including misidentification of tissue by doctors, contamination of tissue in various ways including fungal and bacterial contamination.
- I single out this problem because of objections raised by some posters with regard to PP. The following concerns about PP have been raised either here on the Vanguard or by posters on other blogs.
- PP does “too many” abortions. This is neither illegal, nor the fault of PP. The volume of abortions is a failure of adequate contraception. The way to solve this problem is not by taking away the major supplier of contraception for most women in many of the communities it serves. Increasing their non–abortion functions with more, not less funding would be a more effective approach.
- PP should not have a monopoly. I have no allegiance to PP. I have no problem with others providing these services. However, I would want to see the funding directly flowing to providers of the same services in the same time frame as PP prior to defunding PP. To the best of my knowledge this commitment to maintain services while defunding PP has not occurred in any location that has defunded their PP.
- Other clinics can provide the same service. This is where the comment about contamination, and obvious issues of patient safety become important. Planned Parenthood runs professionally staffed, well maintained clinics with well trained and thoroughly vetted physicians. This is not necessarily true of the small, single provider clinics and would most certainly not be true if we succeed in taking away the professionally done abortion, thereby driving women to the unlicensed “back alley” provider. What Ms. Dyer is referring to with “bacterial contamination” is a major concern for small free standing independent providers who do not have a backing organization.
Maintaining the kind of sterility required for the provision of abortions is very costly.
This combined with the fact that many doctors will simply not perform abortion either because they share the moral beliefs of those who would make them illegal or because of fear for their lives and those of their families (19 attempted murders of abortion doctors since 1993 including the successful murders of Dr. David Gunn and Dr. George Tiller as well as other members of their clinic staffs) makes relying on small independent providers simply not a feasible option.
After several edits the female interviewer steers the conversation back to volume of tissue. Mr. Daleiden asks, “What would make your lab happy?” Getting no response from Ms. Dyer, he repeats the question and laughs. She responds, also laughing, “Well, 50 livers a week.” This obviously is not a realistic estimate from any one site and in my opinion should be considered as a non-serious response to a non-seriously raised question. Kind of like the “Lamborghini” quote used so out of context, and without the previous comment of the Daleiden group actor being shared as to make the meaning of the comment undecipherable. Of course a for-profit company is going to want as much business as they can handle. This is no proof of illegality of action by either StemExpress or Planned Parenthood.
She then states that, with regard to some of the largest affiliates, “we are talking about triple digit volume clinics,” it’s a lot.
- One point that may not be known to non-medical readers is a well known fact in medicine. Patient safety is improved by a higher volume of procedures done by a dedicated practitioner and OR staff. Higher volume leads to greater expertise, smoother performance of duties and faster and more efficient handling of any problems or complications that do occur as is inevitable with any operative process. Closing a high volume clinic harms rather than helps the individual patients and the communities that the clinics serve.
6:00 – A fascinating exchange between the Daleiden female actor and Cate Dyer.
Actor: “Well, I mean going in to it knowing that it has to be financially beneficial”
Dyer: “yeah, on both of us” ( meaning the Daleiden group and StemExpress)
Actor : “And so for the providers, making it financially beneficial for the Clinics.”
Actor: “Everybody has to be doing their job and that is what I am trying to find out. Who needs to be doing what, who hasn’t been doing what, why has it been a failure financially for clinics, or you, or us and solving those problems. So that everybody is profiting financially.”
Dyer: “Do you think that there are clinics out there that feel that they have been burnt …that feel like they have been doing all this work for research and feel that it has not been profitable for them ?
Actor: “Really ?”
Dyer: “No, do you feel that way? I’m sorry, that was a question.”
Actor: “Oh, I thought you were saying that. Oh, no.”
Dyer: “I don’t see that either. I haven’t seen that.”
- All references in this exchange to financial gain are introduced by the Daleiden actor who keeps including references to the clinics also profiting.
Ms. Dyer herself never makes any statement about a clinic profiting. In fact, Ms. Dyer asks if the Dalieden group has seen any instances of clinics complaining about not “profiting.” The Dalieden actor attempts to portray this as an assertion rather than a question and is promptly corrected by Ms. Dyer. Both women then clearly state that they have not encountered this from any clinic.
6:30 WARNING: Extremely graphic descriptions.
Cut to a response to an unheard question from the Daleiden actor.
Ms. Dyer: “One of the problems as you probably know is neural tissue. It’s so fragile. It’s insanely fragile. It’s the hardest thing in the world to ship. I know we get requests for neural tissue.”
Mr. Daleiden : “You use the whole calvarium?”
Ms. Dyer: “Yeah, that is the easiest way. We have actually had good success with that in the past.”
Mr. Daleiden : Laughing, “Just make sure the eyes are closed.”
Ms. Dyer, after laughing along with him, “Tell the lab its coming so they don’t open the box, and, ‘oh, God.'”
“There are so many of the academic labs that cannot fly like that. They are just not capable.”
Female actor: “Why is that?”
Ms. Dyer: “It is almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. Like they will say that we need the limbs, but don’t need the hands and feet attached.”
Mr. Dalieden then makes a comment about “boning a chicken for me, ….and then I will eat it.”
Female actor: “Well that adds to the stigma….”
Ms. Dyer: “….and their lab techs freak out and have meltdowns…..and I think that is why a lot of researchers kind of get into other things, right? They want to look at bone marrow, they want to look at adipose, they want to look at adult human tissue ….”
- It is certainly true that many lab technicians share an abhorrence of dealing with tissue from abortions. This has nothing to do with the legality of working with these tissues.
As on many of these tapes, it is Mr. Daleiden or one of his associates that leads a crudely jocular approach to the issues being discussed.
Following apparent cut.
Mr. Daleiden: Did you feel the same kind of support like from Cecile (Richards) and Deborah (Nucatola).
Ms. Dyer: “Yeah, everyone and PP and the affiliates. I mean you are either in the cause or you are not. And if you are not in the cause, then they don’t need you around. They need champions, and if you are not a champion then you should go. The clinics are very guarded, as they should be. And that is something that I have never really understood.”
- From my acquaintance, I am quite sure that Ms. Dyer understands the issue now that a bounty has been taken out on her head on social media. I am sure that she now appreciates the fear that abortion clinic workers experience every day when they go to work, or go to church, or are standing in their kitchen. As she said to my acquaintance, “I am afraid to go out anywhere.”
9:08: In response to a question from Mr. Daleiden regarding differences in dealing with PP vs private clinics.
Cate Dyer: “I don’t know that I could really think that one has more pros or cons than the other…….I mean, Planned Parenthood has volume.”
- The tape ends with the statement that Planned Parenthood has sufficient volume which is being portrayed by the Daleiden group as a negative. But let’s look at for whom it is a negative. It is certainly a negative for those who would like to see an end to abortion. I share this sentiment but am aware from my 30 years in medicine that the way to prevent abortion is to prevent unintended pregnancy. This is best done through convenient, inexpensive provision of both accurate information and a full range of contraceptive options in areas where the patients live and work. It is best done at the same appointment when a patient comes in for her Pap smear or her STD screening. And at this provision of care, Planned Parenthood excels. If Mr. Daleiden really wanted to prevent abortion, he would be partnering with PP, not attempting to destroy them.
But let’s look at who benefits from the volume of Planned Parenthood.
First the patients. It is far safer to have a procedure done by a practitioner who does a procedure repetitively as a major or exclusive part of their job than occasionally. If you have ever asked a doctor how many times they have done a procedure prior to consenting, you inherently know this to be true. And it has been verified repetitively with safety statistics that show that doctors who do high volumes of procedures do them more efficiently and with fewer complications than do those who do the procedure only occasionally.
The researchers also benefit. Providers that perform uterine evacuation resulting in less trauma to the mother will also be those who also produce the most intact tissues. This is only achievable with extensive experience. If the researchers benefit, ultimately those who suffer from currently untreatable or incurable diseases may also benefit.
My impressions of this tape.
- There is nothing here that even remotely suggests illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood.
- There is nothing here that reflects on any aspect of the care provided by PP since the entire tape is of a StemExpress executive.
- Both Ms. Dyer and the female actor openly acknowledged that there was no suggestion on the part of any of the Planned Parenthood affiliates to suggest that anyone in Planned Parenthood was expressing dissatisfaction with current compensation for services and facility use, not fetal parts, or attempting to up the price or bargain for a better deal as the Daleiden group has repetitively attempted to imply.
- As for crass comments, this tape has more than any to date, and makes it clear that it is Mr. Daleiden himself who steers the conversation into gross or crude comments about the tissue involved. The most crass and raucous audible comments on this tape all begin with him.
One further disclaimer. Please excuse any misspellings, grammatical errors and or failure to respond to comments. I write this under time pressure as I am going completely off the grid for the next 3 weeks. I hate to write and run, but feel that I made a commitment to addressing this issue, which is critical to me, at my earliest opportunity. Thanks for reading and considering. I promise to read any comments upon my return.