The undercover videos that have sparked outrage among conservatives in Congress amount to an "an amazing invasion of privacy," a Planned Parenthood official said to CBS News on Thursday.
"What you see on those video tapes, first and foremost, is somebody following the law," Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens said on CBSN, referring to Planned Parenthood doctors shown on video discussing the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.
Referring to the conservatives who secretly filmed the doctors, Laguens added the video also shows "people who have been breaking the law in order to badger and stalk doctors and go into the most private and personal medical situations, try to present wrongdoing when there is none."
The conservative group that released the videos, called the Center for Medical Progress, says it will release more footage. However, the Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction to bar the group from releasing footage specifically of the leaders of StemExpress, a company that works with Planned Parenthood to provide medical researchers with fetal tissue.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post this week, Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards apologized for the "tone" used by Planned Parenthood doctors in the videos. Laguens added that "what you see is the usual kind of situation where a medical or research procedure is being discussed, and that can be very difficult -- we totally understand that."
However, she continued, "The reality is what it shows is doctors doing their work."
While the outrage over the video has by and large come from anti-abortion rights conservatives, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also called the footage "disturbing" and said it "raises questions about the whole process" of fetal tissue research.
Laguens said Planned Parenthood would "welcome" a responsible discussion about fetal tissue research.
In fact, Richards penned a letter to the National Institutes of Health this week, asking for an independent panel of experts to study the issue more closely.
Fetal tissue research has been conducted since the 1930's, according to the American Society for Cell Biology. The group reports that "scientists obtain fetal tissue for research purposes from a variety of sources including hospitals, nonprofit tissue banks (one of which is funded by the NIH), and, in some cases, abortion clinics." Human fetal tissue was used to develop the polio vaccine and is now used in areas of study like Parkinson's research and Alzheimer's research.
Laguens decried the "political circus" that has erupted in Congress in the wake of the release of the undercover videos. The Republican-led Senate plans to vote on a measure to strip Planned Parenthood of any federal funding -- even though no federal funds are used to pay for abortions thanks to laws already in place.
Laguens pointed out that the measure would only cut off funding for services such as STD testing, cancer screenings and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
"Now people like Sen. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and John Cornyn are calling for them to decide what is legitimate health care for women," she said. "As I recall, the last time they talked about 'legitimate rapelegitimate rape' that didn't go so well."