SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The president of Planned Parenthood’s Northern California chapter defended her organization against a growing political movement to defund it.

“What we do is legal and ethical and we’re proud of it,” CEO Heather Saunders Estes told Phil Matier in an interview on KPIX 5 Sunday morning.

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Estes was responding to the release of several surreptitiously-recorded videos by an anti-abortion group aimed at discrediting Planned Parenthood procedures for providing fetal tissue to researchers.

“These videos are not about tissue donation, these videos are to draw your attention to abortion and to draw your attention to the defunding of Planned Parenthood,” Estes said.

If so, it certainly appears they accomplished just that, judging by the number of potshots fired by Republican candidates in last week’s televised debate.

“I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out,” Gov. Scott Walker boasted at one point in the proceedings.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took the rhetoric a step further.

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“It’s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick,” Huckabee said.


Estes says the only money exchanged with Planned Parenthood by recipients of donated fetal tissues is to cover hard costs involved with the handling and transfer of the material.

“We’re very proud of offering that opportunity to women to donate tissue for life-saving medical research,” Estes said.

On CBS Face the Nation Sunday, former HP CEO and current presidential candidate Carly Fiorina flatly rejected such claims.

“They have nothing to do with women’s health. They have to do with the harvesting of human organs.” Fiorina told CBS correspondent John Dickerson. “We shouldn’t be talking about women’s health.”

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The next step for Republicans could come as a demand to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood tied to the next government spending bill scheduled for the end of September.