Jonathan Lange color

Jonathan Lange

Wyoming Columnist

Editor’s Note

The following column contains graphic descriptions of abortion procedures that may be disturbing to some readers.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, had lunch with David Daleiden nearly five years ago. Daleiden is an undercover investigative journalist looking into the sale of tissue from aborted humans. Over salad and wine, Nucatola explained how PPFA medical directors used ultrasound guidance to alter the abortion procedure for organ harvesting.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” she said. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

Nucatola was particularly expansive about techniques for keeping the brain intact. “Some people,” she said, “will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head down] … So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium [head] at the end.”

Almost a year after recording this ghoulish conversation, the Center for Medical Progress released it to the web. It went viral and was followed by 18 more. Planned Parenthood was exposed for trafficking in baby parts. The videos documented collusion going to the very top of the organization, including President Cecile Richards.

They conspired to ignore numerous state and federal laws for profit. The last video released showed Dr. Susie Prabhakaran, vice president of medical affairs in southwest and central Florida, explaining how Planned Parenthood’s National Medical Standards & Guidelines trains abortionists to skirt the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (18 U.S.C. § 1531).

Enacted in 2003, the ban prohibits killing a baby after delivery past the navel. Standard operating procedure is to inject digoxin to stop the unborn’s heart before extracting the baby.

Prabhakaran explained that she and many of her PPFA colleagues could deliver digoxin-free – and therefore more valuable – specimens by simply skipping that precaution. This leads inevitably to live births, where the organs are harvested from a living baby.

PPFA instructs its medical directors that intent is all that matters. As long as they first check a box saying, “I intend to utilize dismemberment techniques for this procedure,” what they actually do doesn’t go into the record. Whether this practice is illegal or merely evil is only important to lawyers.

Earlier videos showed technicians who admitted harvesting organs from still-living babies. Prabhakaran’s candor explained how these atrocities go unrecorded. Instead of firing these evil doctors, Planned Parenthood claimed the videos were “highly edited.” Of course they were! How else can viewers access the evidence buried in hours of footage? But, “highly edited” does not mean deceptively edited.

The Center for Medical Progress took two steps to verify the videos. First, with the shortened videos, it released the entire footage. Anyone can judge for himself at To date, there are no credible allegations of deceptive editing. Second, CMP submitted all footage to Coalfire Systems for independent forensics testing. This lab verified that they were authentic and unaltered.

Two recent events have returned these videos to the headlines. On June 5, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded a nine-month audit of fetal tissue contracts by canceling its contract with the University of California, San Francisco and by halting its in-house programs that experiment on fetal tissue.

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration. The audit and review helped inform the policy process that led to the administration’s decision to let the contract with UCSF expire and to discontinue intramural research,” said the HHS statement.

Nearly four years after Daleiden released the results of his investigation, the unethical and often unlawful procurement of fetal remains will no longer enrich the world’s biggest abortion provider at taxpayer expense. Daleiden deserves America’s enduring thanks for his painstaking investigation.

Instead, he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. California Attorney General Kamala Harris raided his home, confiscating his video footage. Her successor, Xavier Becerra, filed 15 felony charges in the state’s court.

Next, the National Abortion Federation went to federal judge William Orrick, a longtime abortion activist, who imposed a gag order preventing Daleiden from using any of his videos. Daleiden’s defense lawyers cried foul. If the state of California can use Daleiden’s videos to prosecute felony charges, his defense reasoned that they were permissible as exculpatory evidence. Orrick counted this as contempt and slapped Daleiden with a $195,000 fine.

Last week, the typically activist Ninth Circuit denied his appeal. As David battles the abortion Goliath, the Supreme Court may be his last chance. Now would be a good time to support this intrepid warrior.

Jonathan Lange is a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor in Evanston and Kemmerer and serves the Wyoming Pastors Network. Follow his blog at Email:

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