Ultrasound image of a fetus
Planned Parenthood refutes allegations of selling aborted baby parts following the release of a video Wikimedia Commons

A US health service provider has refuted claims it was harvesting body parts from fetuses to make money following the release of a video suggesting it does.

Planned Parenthood has been put in the spotlight by two undercover anti-abortion activists after they posted a video alleging the firm is behind the illegal trafficking of organs.

The activists from the Center for Medical Progress posed as fake organ buyers from a biotech firm when they met up with one of Planned Parenthood's directors Deborah Nucatola and recorded the details of the alleged trade, which quoted prices per specimen from between $30-$100, (£19-£64, €27-€91).

"Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs," Nucatola told them. "Some people want lower extremities, too, which, that's simple. That's easy. I don't know what they're doing with it, I guess if they want muscle." To which a fake buyer responded: "Yeah – a dime a dozen".

Nucatola continued: "I'd say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps.

"We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."

Buying and selling human body parts is a US felony, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence and $500,000 fine.

Planned Parenthood, which is the largest US provider of reproductive health services, including cancer screening, HIV screening and abortion, denied the accusations and said the video was heavily edited.

Dr Deborah Nucatola secretly filmed
Dr Deborah Nucatola secretly filmed by the Center of Medical Progress YouTube

A company spokesman Eric Ferrero said: "A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood's mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood's participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research."

He added: "There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.

"In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centres, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field."

But David Daledien, who led the undercover investigation, said according to Fox News: "Planned Parenthood's criminal conspiracy to make money from aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organisation.

"Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business."

See the full transcript of video here.