(CNSNews.com) - Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board released a statement Tuesday condemning the pro-life advocacy group that produced a series of videos appearing to show Planned Parenthood officials and employees haggling over the sale of body parts harvested from "intact fetal cadavers," while sifting through dishes of tiny organs and limbs.
According to the board, the taxpayer-funded abortion giant is simply “doing God’s work.”
A series of videos released over the past two weeks by the Center for Medical Progress shows Planned Parenthood officials discussing the transfer of tissue and body parts from babies who have been aborted, some as late as 18 to 22 weeks' gestation, to people posing as buyers.
In several cases, doctors can be heard saying, “it’s a baby” and “another boy!” while sifting through plates of organs and severed limbs to pick out parts usable for research while discussing the "per item" cost for each "specimen."
In the statement released Tuesday, Planned Parenthood's clergy board -- described as a “network of clergy members from a variety of denominations throughout the religious community” -- described the recent undercover videos as nothing more than a “smear campaign” that “use[s] fraudulent and extreme tactics to spread false allegations about Planned Parenthood’s role in tissue donation.”
“As faith leaders committed to justice, honesty, and liberty, we are troubled by the decades-long campaign of harassment against Planned Parenthood and those they serve,” the statement read.
“Our faiths demand care for those marginalized by poverty and other oppressions. Faith leaders have supported Planned Parenthood for nearly 100 years because of our shared goals: every person — regardless of income, race, or religion — deserves access to safe, affordable, high-quality health care.
“Planned Parenthood provides professional, non-judgmental, high-quality care to people, individuals, and families in our congregations, some of whom have few health care options.”
The board went on to state that “Planned Parenthood does the best of what religious traditions do: care, no matter what.”
“Planned Parenthood offers the opportunity for women to choose to donate fetal tissue for research purposes. Research using fetal tissue saves hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide every year,” the statement continued, accusing the pro-life group of “attacking organizations us[ing] fraudulent and extreme tactics to spread false allegations.”
The board called the videos -- not the dismembered babies -- “theologically and morally reprehensible.”
“The scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam strongly and repeatedly condemn dishonesty and hate,” the statement went on. “Planned Parenthood facilitates tissue donation for those who choose it, knowing that it fulfills the donor's wish and contributes to the advancement of medical research. We are grateful to everyone who chooses to donate and fully respectful of all who do not.”
“Rather than respect religious liberty and individual conscience, some seek to impose their values and work obsessively to limit access to health care on individuals despite the fact that denial of health care may have a tremendous impact on their families. This agenda has included restricting access to evidence-based sex education and contraceptives and imposing a view of sexuality that most Americans do not hold,” the board said.
The statement also praised Planned Parenthood for “doing God’s work” by providing low-income women with services like abortion.
“People who work for Planned Parenthood give care and respect to those in need, doing God’s work. For this we are grateful,” they added.
While selling human and fetal tissue for profit is against federal law, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has maintained the organization does not make a profit off the sale of body parts from aborted children, but that any money exchanged is simply to compensate for shipping and handling costs associated with transporting fetal tissue.
In 2014 alone, Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, received $528.4 million in taxpayer funding, according to its 2014 annual financial report. That year, the organization performed 327,653 abortions.