Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Baby Parts. Suspend EU Funding Now!

July 27, 2015

Two undercover videos published by the Center for Medical Progress (July 15 and July 21) recently revealed the shocking news that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), part of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world´s largest abortion provider, has been illegally selling body parts of aborted babies. Since the European branch of IPPF receives funding from the European Union, there is an urgent need to ask whether the Commission knows about this scandalous revelation, and to investigate if any similar incidents have occurred under the banner of the IPPF European Network.

In fact, it is time to question the continued EU-funding of IPPF. Numerous US senators, for example James Lankford, have already called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood. In Europe, perhaps MEPs should follow the example of MEP Miroslav Mikolásik, who has already sent a written query to the European Commission about the funding of IPPF European Network.

The recent scandal surrounding the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress draws attention to the PPFA’s profit-oriented practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies. The first video exposes the practice of selling and transferring fetal body parts that have been previously ‘harvested’ after abortions. It reveals that abortions are often performed with the goal of receiving specific tissue, organs, and body parts.

The second undercover video released by the organisation shows an official at a Planned Parenthood affiliate discussing the costs associated with harvesting fetal tissue for medical research.

Nevertheless, PPFA disingenuously reacted to the release of the videos by claiming that their goal is merely to “help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research … with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards.” And despite what the second video clearly shows, the PPFA further claimed that “[t]here is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.”

Such actions on the part of PPFA, through IPPF European Network a global partner of the EU on sexual and reproductive health, make it imperative to investigate the extensive abortion activities of both the IPPF European Network, but also the similarly large abortion-provider Marie Stopes International (MSI). Both organizations are known for extensive EU-funded abortion activities over the years. Already in 2012, European Dignity Watch had reported on their abortion practices, which were found to be included under the “EU’s sexual and reproductive health policy.” Our analysis showed how abortion was directly and indirectly funded by various forms of EU development aid.

European Dignity Watch’s report clearly showed how the European Commission provides financial support worth millions of euros to organizations such as IPPF and MSI, whose core mission is to provide “safe abortions” worldwide as part of family planning services. In fact, the Commission was estimated to be the 4th largest donor to reproductive health in the world.

But the term “reproductive health” cannot include abortion. As far back as 1994, the term was defined by the United Nations (UN) in their Programme of Action adopted at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (VII, 2), which was endorsed by all Member States of the European Union. In that document, the definition of “reproductive health” made no reference at all to abortion. And, as a consequence, the term “sexual and reproductive health” (SRH) as used by the EU must explicitly exclude abortion.


Nevertheless, abortion providers like IPPF and MSI continue to think abortion is an essential service within SRH. Despite the blatant discrepancy between what they believe and what European Member States agreed to with the UN in 1994, there are apparently no obstacles when it comes to asking for financial support from the European Union’s Development Aid and Public Health budgets.  

A recent post by the IPPF on an official EU website for the “European Year for Development” demonstrates how this partnership between the EU and the IPPF, its global partner for sexual and reproductive health, continues to exist. MSI, too, continues to be considered by the EU as a key SRH service provider. The MSI’s own impact measurement tool and other information available on the EU’s website provide information about the MSI’s agenda up to 2020. Most important are their family planning services – including contraceptives, pills, and abortion – which are to be expanded. Specifically, they say:

The London Family Planning Summit (FP2020) set the goal of expanding family planning services to 120 million more women by 2020. Family planning services are to be extended to these ‘additional users’, as well as sustaining services to the 260 million women who are already using modern family planning in some of the poorest countries of the world.

It is quite obvious that these organizations promote abortion and sterilization as part of their agenda. So how can the EU support the IPPF or MSI? It is contradictory to the European Commission’s own declarations concerning EU funding for abortion and sterilization, which assert that the Commission “does not provide incentives to encourage sterilization or abortion in developing countries.” Commission Ex-Vice President Viviane Reding had even clarified the Commission’s position when she justified the withdrawal of EU-funding for a pro-adoption campaign in Hungary in 2011: “I would like to underline the fact that the EU has no competence regarding abortion. This means that the EU cannot promote or condemn abortion; that is why the Commission considers that the use of EU money for an anti-abortion campaign is not in line with EU competence.”

While the EU’s commitment to providing development assistance is welcomed, it is a source of great concern to realise how the EU continues to promote and support – directly and indirectly – providers of abortions (and sterilizations) through its development programme. And with the recent revelations about the attempts of the IPPF’s US member, PPFA, to sell body parts from aborted babies, more attention should no be given to the Commission’s funding activities on behalf of such organizations.

Will any of this result in a reaction from the Commission or prompt them to issue any kind of statement condemning such practices? It would be unexactable if they remained silent in the face of such a scandal. The Commission should decide to freeze all direct or indirect funding of IPPF activities, projects, and programmes – until appropriate investigations into their activities takes place.