Planned Parenthood scandal hits Denver

Local university, doctor implicated in undercover videos

At least one Colorado university was named as a fetal tissue recipient in a series of undercover videos on Planned Parenthood and the alleged selling of baby parts. The latest videos show a Denver abortionist, Dr. Savita Ginde, discussing Planned Parenthood’s methods of compensation for fetal donations.

Lynn Grandon, executive director of Lighthouse Women’s Center, said she wasn’t surprised when she heard about the alleged sale of baby parts, because she had heard rumors of it for more than 10 years. However, she said it was still hard to see a Denver clinic and a Colorado university in the videos.

“The reality is it’s happening right in our backyard. We can’t be complacent,” Grandon said.

A Denver abortionist

The video from the Center for Medical Progress stated that Ginde is the vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM). Her page on healthgrades.com says that she is a 45-year-old specializing in family medicine at PPRM, and that she graduated from medical school at American University of the Caribbean, a school which claims in its mission statement to foster “the highest standards in professional ethics and competence.” Ginde is also listed as a staff Dr. Ginde 2member at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver.

The fourth video in the series “Human Capital” has undercover journalists from the Center for Medical Progress posing as members of a group that wants to supply fetal tissue to research groups. They are shown discussing prices and Planned Parenthood policies with Ginde.

“I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” Ginde said.

Ginde also said that affiliates in “a really anti state that’s going to be doing this [tissue procurement] for you, they’re probably going to get caught.”

The footage at the end of the video shows Ginde looking through an aborted fetus’ remains in a pie dish, looking for usable parts. At one point, she says, “It’s a baby.” Towards the end, while searching for a leg, another person in the room is heard saying, “And another boy!”

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains was unavailable for comment, as all communication other than patient appointments and donations was removed from their website. The situation surrounding their website shutdown was unclear, as they at first claimed they had been hacked, then changed their statement to say they were doing “maintenance”.

The video also shows Ginde saying that at least one Colorado university has used tissue from PPRM.

“We do tissue collection for CU—CSU [Colorado State University] in Fort Collins collected some,” Ginde said. It appeared she was only referring to CSU.

CSU implicated

In response to the video, U.S. Rep Doug Lamborn (R-CO) wrote to CSU’s president, Tony Frank, expressing concern over the videos. CSU sent Frank’s reply to Denver Catholic.

Frank says he does “not believe that Colorado State University has violated federal or Colorado state law.”

The state law he is referring to, Colorado Revised Statute 25-2-111.5, states that “No physician or institution that performs procedures for the induced termination of pregnancy shall transfer such tissue for valuable consideration to any organization or person that conducts research using fetal tissue or that transplants fetal tissue for therapeutic purposes.”

According to Frank’s letter, the law is “directed at physicians and institutions that perform procedures for the induced termination of pregnancy, which Colorado State University does not perform.”

According to the letter, CSU is currently using human fetal tissue in a project investigating a cure for HIV/AIDS. The project is backed by the National Institutes of Health, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Frank said that CSU did not acquire any fetal tissue directly from an institution that performs abortions, including Planned Parenthood. Instead, they use FDA regulated and approved providers.

One of these companies is a group called Stem Express. Frank also sent Denver Catholic invoices indicating that CSUStem express 1 gave Stem Express over $1,000 for fetal livers and a thymus. Stem Express changed their website after the first video, but the Center for Medical Progress published still shots of the old site, in which they promised financial gain to abortion facilities who partnered with them.

The head of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, said in an interview with CNN that Stem Express is trying to stifle a particular meeting between investigative journalists and top Stem Express officials.

“Their leadership admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics that they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants. And so that’s why they’re trying to suppress that videotape and they’re very scared of it,” Daleiden said.

ABR pricesFrank’s letter said that CSU has not received fetal tissue from Stem Express since 2013. However, the HIV/AIDS project, which uses fetal tissue, is still ongoing and has been for over 15 years. Frank said that CSU now procures tissue from a nonprofit group called ABR. According to the videos, some Planned Parenthoods have also used ABR.

CSU also send Denver Catholic a memorandum from the CSU Biotethics Advisory Committee to Frank. The memorandum states that CSU uses the tissue to create blood stem cells from the liver and thymus. These cells are used to create a “human-like immune system in an immune-deficient mouse to study HIV,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum also stated that “the procurement of fetal tissue is supported by NIH through research grants and execution of the research and is reimbursed as part of the sponsored research grants.”

However, in acquiring fetal tissues, none of the CSU faculty and researchers was given information regarding the source of the tissue, and whether it came from a forced abortion or a miscarriage, according to the memorandum.

In his letter to Lamborn, Frank said that the university will “seek alternatives to aborted fetal tissue sources” and that they will suspend “any further acquisition of fetal tissue from Stem Express or other venders implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional inquiry.”

The Catholic response

Grandon encouraged fellow Catholics to seek a balance between their anger and the need to be compassionate.

“As Catholics, we need to be extra vigilant and attentive because there are going to be women in our pews who see these videos, and this exposure is going to reopen wounds of abortion that have been buried for many years, especially for those who were told to sign those waivers and that the “tissue” was going to be used in a positive manner.  Now they’re going to have the realization that these were complete babies who were dismembered,” Grandon said.

Grandon encouraged people to become informed about the many services offered through Catholic Charities for women in crisis pregnancies, or who have had an abortion.

“This is the time for Christians and all Catholics of goodwill to get rid of the complacency about this issue. This isn’t somebody else’s issue. This is our sisters and brothers in our backyard who are going to be hurting from this, and we need to be there for them,” Grandon said.

Crisis pregnancy resources in Denver

Catholic Charities provides services from the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant, to later daycare and even educational opportunities. Catholic Charities CEO Larry Smith encouraged Denver Catholics to go ccdenver.org to learn more about the services and how they can volunteer. Smith also said that all women are eligible for assistance, regardless of religious background.

“Nobody ever needs to be Catholic to be helped by Catholic charities. WE don’t help people because they’re catholic, we help them because we’re Catholic,” Smith said.

Pregnant mothers

Lighthouse Women’s Center

Provides testing, counseling, and will connect mothers to resources, including shelter.

www.lighthousedenver.org

303-320-8352

info@lighthousedenver.org

Young Mothers

Gabriel House

Provides young mothers with children with food, clothing, formula, diapers, and referrals to programs they need to make a life with their child, including education programs.

www.gabrielhousedenver.org

303-377-1577

gabrielhousedenver@gmail.com

Little Flower Assistance Center

Provides food assistance, clothing assistance, job search assistance, help with money management and budgeting skills, and referrals to other support agencies for assistance.

www.ccdenver.org/the-little-flower

(303) 360-9686

Post-abortive men and women

Project Rachel

Provides direct care to women, men and families who have been affected by abortion.

www.ccdenver.org/help-after-abortion

720-377-1351

All mothers

Catholic Charities

Provides counseling, shelter, food banks, education, day care, an adoption services.

www.ccdenver.org

CORRECTION: The site that claimed

COMING UP: On Fathers and Christian Masculinity

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The Year of St. Joseph points us to Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, as the essential model for fathers. Joseph not only manifests genuine masculinity, he also images God’s own fatherhood, as Pope Francis makes clear in his apostolic letter, Patris Corde: “In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way.” Jesus, though the Son of God, obeyed Joseph, learned from him, and worked with him, acknowledging Joseph as a true expression of God’s own fatherhood.  

God does not just use fatherhood as an image of himself, because he himself is Father, even within his own triune life. Earthly fatherhood comes forth from him and should manifest his life and love. St. Paul speaks of honoring the “Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph 3:15). God wants everyone to be able to see his own fatherly love and called certain men to share in his own paternal gift of bringing forth life and caring for others. Every father is called to be liked Joseph, “an earthly shadow of the heavenly Father” for his own family. 

Our culture, however, often denigrates masculinity, sometimes viewing even its proper expressions as toxic. We too often see maleness in its fallenness — dominating and selfish — rather than showing self-sacrificial service. In fact, later in Ephesians, Paul speaks of the true vocation of the husband and father: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). He also speaks of the role of fatherhood: “Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Paul shows us the goal of fatherhood — sacrificing himself for the flourishing of the family by putting the good of his wife and children before his own desires.   

No matter what the contrary voices of our culture say, we need strong men and fathers. God created man and woman in complementarity, and they need each other to thrive, helping the other in relation to their own strengths and weaknesses. Children need the strong presence of a father to discipline and teach, as Paul reminds us. Study after study has shown that fathers have the largest impact on the faith of their children. Christian Smith explains in his sociological study, Young Catholic America, that “the faith of Catholic fathers is powerfully determinative of the future faith of their children (125). The same can be said for general wellbeing and success. When fathers are absent or refuse to exercise their role, a moral and spiritual vacuum appears. A strong majority of felons, for instance, grew up without fathers in the home.  

St. Joseph helps us to understand the strength of Christian fatherhood. First, like any good husband, Joseph listened — not just to his wife but also to God. Woken up frequently by angels, he demonstrated obedience and trust, quickly leaving everything behind to follow God’s instructions and to protect his family. We also know Joseph for his work as a carpenter and builder, content to live simply and to work hard. Importantly, he also taught Jesus how to work, showing that fathers model and teach by drawing their children into their life and work. And we can also learn from Joseph’s humility, serving the Incarnate God and his Mother without even a single recorded word in the Gospels.  

This humility points us to the essence of Christian fatherhood. Although living with two perfect people, Joseph was still called to lead. He quietly and humbly did what was needed for his family and taught his own maker how to share in his work. Fathers do not lead in order to be in charge or to get their own way. They lead because God asks them to care for and protect their families. Fathers and mothers share in the great and beautiful partnership of family life, although fathers cannot simply sit back and let mom take the lead in the spiritual life, as they are often tempted to do. Like Joseph, fathers should act firmly and lovingly to put God and the family before self, obeying God and leading the family in the right direction. They are called to model faith, work, and sacrifice to their children. 

On Father’s Day we can affirm that masculinity and fatherhood are not just good — they are essential to understanding God and his plan for human flourishing. If our culture turns around, it will be because, in large part, Christian men stand up and fight. As Christians, we cannot give in to the culture’s attempt to denigrate masculinity and fatherhood or to pit men and women against each other. We can use this celebration to affirm the essential role that our fathers play, leading their families like St. Joseph.