One of the largest public relations firms in Washington D.C. circulated a memo Monday night urging members of the media to refrain from airing damning videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of organs and tissue of aborted fetuses.
Politico is reporting that Planned Parenthood hired SKDKnickerbocker to help manage blowback from the videos, which were produced by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress.
According to Politico, SKDKnickerbocker sent the memo to unnamed “reporters and producers” asking them to blackball the videos — the third of which was released on Tuesday.
“The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients involved,” the memo says, according to Politico. “Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the media.”
Politico itself may have gotten SKDKnickerbocker’s message. As flagged by The Federalist, the outlet sent a tweet of its scoop at around noon on Tuesday noting that the PR firm “circulated a memo” to reporters and news producers. That tweet was later deleted, however. Politico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The videos have created a public relations disaster for the abortion group. The callous nature of the discussions in the videos has led some members of Congress to propose defunding Planned Parenthood.
As Politico notes, SKDKnickerbocker is in a perfect position to handle the abortion group’s media outreach. The firm is closely aligned with Democratic interests. Its managing director is Hilary Rosen, a longtime Democratic mouthpiece who is an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton. Rosen has long contributed to CNN.
SKDKnickerbocker’s memo mirrors language used by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in her numerous attempts to discredit the Center for Medical Progress.
“This has been a three-year, well funded by the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement in this country to try to entrap doctors and, of course, highly doctored videos which show absolutely they — doctors repeatedly said, it’s all been edited out, Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important element of health care research in this country,” Richards said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Center for Medical Progress released its first Planned Parenthood video earlier this month. It showed two undercover actors posing as executives for a tissue collection company. In the video, Deborah Nucatola, a Planned Parenthood national official, describes how the organization goes about selling fetal tissue and organs. The video is notable for Nucatola’s matter-of-fact approach to abortions. In one part, she discusses how abortion doctors strategically “crush” certain parts of a fetus in order to protect certain organs and tissue which are later sold.
In a second video released last week, undercover actors are seen discussing purchasing fetal tissue and organs from another Planned Parenthood official in California. In that video, the official, Mary Gatter, openly entertains the idea of “violating protocol” in order to ensure that fetal tissue and organs can be harvested for sale.
In that video, Gatter says that she is willing to ask an abortion doctor whether he would manipulate a fetus in order to protect certain organs and tissue. It is against federal law to alter the timing and method of an abortion in order to procure tissue and organs for the purposes of research.
Women getting abortions are also required to sign a form stating that the timing and method of their abortion is not altered in any way.
In the third video, a Planned Parenthood official in Colorado is seen discussing selling fetal tissue and organs on a “per-item” basis.
“I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” the official, Savite Ginde said in the edited video.
Seeking information on which media outlets were contacted by SKDKnickerbocker as part of its new PR campaign, the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This post has been updated to include more information.