Recently-unsealed documents reveal Planned Parenthood charged a biospecimen company nearly $25,000 for fetal tissue and maternal blood samples in 2012, fueling accusations from opponents that the nation's largest abortion provider violated federal law while exchanging fetal body parts.
The invoices were unsealed as part of Planned Parenthood's lawsuit with David Daleiden, the pro-life journalist whose undercover videos prompted both state and federal calls for investigations. According to the invoices, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte charged StemExpress $55.00 per "POC," or products of conception -- another term for fetal remains -- and $10.00 per sample of blood.
Three invoices -- dated Aug. 2, Sept. 5, and Sept. 28 -- show the abortion provider charging $5,860, $11,365, and $7,715. That totals $24,940, along with more than 200 POC's.
Daleiden argues that the disclosure reveals Planned Parenthood clearly violated federal law, which only allows reimbursements for associated costs rather than for the body part itself.
Planned Parenthood has defended itself by claiming that its charges related to transportation and time spent by staff. The invoices don't mention either of those, however, nor do they contain the word "reimbursement."
Instead, they assign a fee per body part. Specifically, the previously released contract between those organizations showed that the exchanges were based on "POC determined in the clinic to be usable."
Planned Parenthood did not provide specific comment, but pointed Fox News to a more generic backgrounder on Daleiden. "Planned Parenthood has never, and would never sell fetal tissue, and any claim otherwise is absurd," the document reads. It previously announced that it wouldn't accept payments for its fetal tissue program, with its president arguing that doing so should put to rest concerns about Planned Parenthood having "any financial interest in fetal donation."
StemExpress, which promises "financial profits" in its brochure, handled all of the services for which Planned Parenthood might legitimately seek reimbursement under the law, Daleiden argued. He pointed to a House Select Panel report suggesting that Planned Parenthood was engaging in "double counting" costs like transportation. Instead, it indicated that the group's costs were "more properly assigned to the middleman procurer or the end user researcher."
On Wednesday, Daleiden told Fox News: "The federal law against selling aborted fetal organs and tissues in exchange for 'valuable consideration' was enacted to prevent monetary incentives to turn children in the womb into a commodity. The law lays out the unmistakable difference between a researcher reimbursing a clinic for used up PPE, versus StemExpress paying solely for the number of 'usable' body parts it could collect and then sell from Planned Parenthood's abortions.
"Planned Parenthood and StemExpress's business relationship -- sadly not unique to them -- sets quotas for certain types of abortions, treats pregnant women like a cash crop, places a price tag on human beings, and declares that our nation's children are worth more dead than alive," he said.
His comments echoed those of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, who said her clinic in Texas had quotas and sought to "turn every client interaction into a revenue-generating visit."
"This is literally what I have been saying for years," Johnson said, responding to the invoices. "They are charging. They have just been line item-ing it under different wording...transport, handling, processing, etc...when the process for handling the POC after an abortion isn't any different.
"You either throw it in a biohazard bag that stays in the clinic or a styrofoam container that goes to the procurement company," she added.
StemExpress did not respond to Fox News' request for comment. The company's contract with Planned Parenthood specifed that POC's include "any fetal organ or other fetal or placental material taken from the human uterus during an abortion." It also outlines "reasonable costs" for things like the removal of fetal organs, disposal services, and "appropriate space for in which Stem-Ex representatives and employees may work."
According to Daleiden, those payments violate federal law because they're tied to the usability of extracted body parts rather than merely serving as "associated" costs for handling organs. An email between BioMax, the fake company used by Daleiden, and StemExpress similarly shows StemExpress emphasizing the need for "only viable" fetal liver specimens.
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the organization, although it's unclear how it's proceeded since 2017 when it first made headlines. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Planned Parenthood has repeatedly tried to discredit Daleiden as a fraudster who deceptively edited his undercover videos of employees discussing fetal body parts.
"David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress intentionally waged a multi-year illegal effort to manufacture a malicious campaign against Planned Parenthood," the group said last year.
One of its officials added: “This group’s false claims completely fell apart upon closer investigation, and they’ve been exposed as part of an extreme political agenda to outlaw abortion in this country."
Fusion GPS, the controversial D.C. firm involved in the notorious "Steele dossier" during the Trump-Russia probe, reviewed the videos and claimed they did not "present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict." Last year, an appeals court contradicted Planned Parenthood's narrative, arguing the videos were "not deceptively edited."
A judge awarded Planned Parenthood $2 million in November as part of a civil lawsuit with Daleiden. He's currently facing criminal charges in a prosecution initiated by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., when she served as California's attorney general. More specifically, the state is charging him under an anti-eavesdropping law. Five of those charges were dropped by a judge who ruled that "there is an absence of probable cause to establish that these conversations were 'confidential communications' as defined by the statute."