A Planned Parenthood doctor who was secretly recorded stating she changed abortion techniques to get intact hearts, lungs and livers to sell has defended her comments in a San Francisco courtroom.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the former Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the court this week that she believed the comments she made to David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in an undercover video were, “no big deal.”
Dr. Nucatola was giving evidence in a lawsuit taken by Planned Parenthood against Daleiden, a journalist and activist who secretly recorded the organization haggling over the price of body parts from abortions.
Despite detailing the harvesting of baby organs, skulls and other body parts, and changing procedures without patient permission to make them more intact and valuable, the court heard that Dr. Nucatola “didn’t get the big deal and didn’t think there was anything wrong in the video with what I said.”
Daleiden set up a fake company and posed as a buyer looking to buy baby organs and limbs for research and commercial use and recorded Nucatola saying “a lot of people want liver … a lot of people want intact hearts these days.” She also said she had just been asked to provide lungs from an abortion.
The secret recording also revealed Dr. Nucatola boasting about how she would change abortion techniques to acquire more intact and therefore more valuable samples.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is the calvarium, the head is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact. It’s very rare to have a patient that doesn’t have enough dilation to evacuate all the other parts intact,” according to videos shown yesterday in the San Francisco courtroom.
Dr. Nucatola was recorded detailing exactly how she would ensure a more valuable specimen for sale.
“So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,” she told the undercover journalists.
The jury heard how Dr. Nucatola was recorded stating that the position of the baby would be changed during the abortion to ensure a more intact skull could be harvested.
“And with the calvarium [skull], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex, because when it’s vertex presentation, you never have enough dilation at the beginning of the case, unless you have real, huge amount of dilation to deliver an intact calvarium [skull]. So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end. So I mean there are certainly steps that can be taken to try to ensure…. Exactly, exactly. Under ultrasound guidance, they can just change the presentation.”
Dr. Nucatola declined to defend her comments when approached by a Daily Wire correspondent outside the courtroom.
Planned Parenthood is seeking damages from Daleiden and his co-defendants for damages they say were caused by the videos. They are also seeking damages for breach of contract and fraud for misrepresentations made to infiltrate the organisation and for breach of privacy for filming the executives during negotiations.
Planned Parenthood had originally sought $20 million in damages for fraud and trespass against Daleiden and his colleagues. However, Judge William Orrick reduced potential damages to $600,000. Daleiden and his colleagues are denying liability. In situations where he broke the law regarding recording people without their permission Daleiden is claiming he was a journalist and that it is allowed under California law where it can be utilized to prevent a felony assault on a person.
Daleiden recorded Planned Parenthood executives stating they changed abortion techniques to ensure better and more profitable body parts were retrieved for sale. He also claims that the recordings took place in public places, such as restaurants and hotels, where participants have no expectation of privacy.
Planned Parenthood is not suing Daleiden for defamation or slander and in an opening argument the Planned Parent lawyers did not state that the videos were inaccurate or exaggerated. They instead claimed they were filmed through illegal methods. The organization is also claiming Daleiden and his colleagues are guilty of fraud for setting up a fake company and identifications to start the business conversations with the Planned Parenthood executives.
Phelim McAleer is a journalist and filmmaker. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “Gosnell – The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.”