Dr Manny's Notes

Dr. Manny: How Planned Parenthood’s alleged practices are jeopardizing the health of American mothers

The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic.

The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic.  (Reuters)

I don’t understand the silence among the members of the medical community, especially from my fellow OB-GYNs, as more devastating videos have come forward showing the alleged unethical acts that some Planned Parenthood employees are committing. 

The latest video, which is the seventh in a series of increasingly incriminating string of accounts, alleges that a licensed phlebotomist, who took the role of a procurement technician at the biotech startup and fetal tissue company StemExpress in 2012, tried to harvest the brain from a late-term, unborn male baby whose heart was still beating after an abortion. According to some reports, StemExpress had partnered with Planned Parenthood, buying body parts from aborted fetuses and selling them to research universities and the like, prior to ending its relationship with the organization last week.

Now, some of the issues with Planned Parenthood’s alleged practices are limited to speculation, as its processes still go largely unchecked by the federal government, which funded nearly $530 million of the organization’s total $1.5 billion in revenue in 2013-2014, according to Planned Parenthood’s most recent report.

But based on videos that have been released thus far, if the claims are true, it’s clear that the methods performed by some of these doctors are harming mothers.

Not only are the descriptions of how fetuses are being dissected and how body parts are then procured as line items, as some have stated, enough to rattle anyone— parent or not— but now, we’re learning that in many cases, the procedure is altered to maximize the chance of extracting intact body parts.

As a high-risk obstetrician, I have seen thousands of women who in previous pregnancies have undergone abortions and now may suffer secondary side effects from that initial procedure, which in turn has placed their current pregnancy at risk.

When doctors perform abortions, the procedure should be done with minimal consequences to the patient. When you try to alter the mechanics— as some Planned Parenthood employees allegedly are doing— you’re not fulfilling the standard of care that is necessary for the procedure to go uneventfully, that is, keep the patient herself out of harm’s way.

The videos suggest that doctors are extensively dilating the cervix in an effort to extract the fetus intact. The problem with this approach is it could endanger the anatomy of the cervix moving forward— in particular, these women might be at risk for developing an incompetent cervix, which would yield complications of prematurity in the future.

We’ve also now learned that it’s possible some Planned Parenthood doctors are altering the position of the fetus in an effort, again, to extract intact body parts. In those scenarios, the operator runs the risk of perforating the uterus or creating excessive bleeding, leaving the patient increasingly vulnerable to infection. This again puts the women in danger of necessitating a caesarian section in the future because you already have a compromised uterus or have created excessive scar tissue in the inner lining of the uterus— thus putting the patient at risk for abnormal placental presentations.

So you see, for the sake of American mothers’ wellbeing now and for those who may want to conceive in the future, the medical community cannot be silent any longer. Not only have we not received a public statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), but the group—which represents about 90 percent of all board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States—also did not agree to offer FoxNews.com a personal statement on Planned Parent’s alleged practices when we emailed them requesting one.

It’s time for us to speak out and demand some answers, and it’s time for time for regulators to step in and stop these unethical alterations by Planned Parenthood— because they’re putting women in danger. I say this from an observational point of view based on the descriptive, alleged statements that have been recorded and now presented to all of us.

Another thing that I’m very concerned about that has been at the forefront of many of our minds is whether the patients involved knew what was going on. Doctors are obligated to protect their patients’ rights, and we do so by informing them of what’s going on throughout their care.

Congress must cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood— at the very least, for those abortion services that the organization is performing. Regardless of whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, it is clear that, if these statements turn out to be true, some of the doctors in this organization might not be doing the right thing by their patients.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.