Rather than directly accusing Planned Parenthood of breaking the law, Republicans are using the controversy over the collection of fetal body parts to draw attention to the procedure of abortion itself.
"People all across this country are horrified and appalled by the images we have seen on the videos," said Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., on Wednesday as she and a group of GOP senators introduced legislation to strip federal funding from the women's health and abortion provider.
Abortion opponents have long displayed graphic depictions of mangled fetuses, although that practice is controversial within the anti-abortion movement. But now activists and Republicans are trying their hardest to draw and keep public attention on new footage showing Planned Parenthood workers themselves handling fetal remains.
"The distaste [people] had at seeing these videos I think reminds people that Americans are at heart a compassionate people," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. "The images were disturbing, they were chilling, they were gruesome."
The third and latest undercover video targeting Planned Parenthood for its involvement in collecting aborted fetal organs is perhaps the most visually disturbing of the footage released over the last few weeks by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress.
It contains footage taken inside a lab at a Planned Parenthood clinic, where medical workers appear picking through glass dishes of fetal tissue for intact organs, including arms and legs.
The video hasn't caused any Democrats or abortion rights supporters to denounce Planned Parenthood, although presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the video raises "disturbing" questions about the practice of aborted fetal tissue donation.
But it does give Republicans and activists a visual depiction of abortion they can get mileage out of even if they fail to prove Planned Parenthood broke the law by profiting financially from the tissue.
"From the beginning we've said regardless of whether or not they are profiting ... we need to take advantage of this moment to educate people about what is going on in the womb at this time when the child is growing and what the graphic nature of the abortion procedure truly is," said Mallory Quigley, spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List.
Of the many abortion restrictions state legislatures passed this year, the so-called "dismemberment" bans were especially aimed at drawing attention to the way in which some later-term abortions are performed.
Two new "dismemberment" laws in Oklahoma and Kansas ban "knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus."
When it comes to publicly displaying images of aborted fetuses, abortion foes have been divided especially in recent years, with some groups including National Right to Life encouraging the use of less graphic images.
Mark Harrington, president of the Columbus, Ohio, anti-abortion group Created Equal, is one activist known for pushing the use of graphic images, which he says he prefers to call "abortion victim photos."
He says the undercover video has caught the attention of Americans "in a new way."
"It is not pro-lifers who are holding them or picking through fetal remains — it's Planned Parenthood themselves," Harrington said. "It's one thing to describe abortion — it's another thing to actually see abortion."
Planned Parenthood denies it has done anything wrong or illegal, although the group's president, Cecile Richards, has apologized for the "tone" taken by officials who appeared to be haggling over the prices of fetal organs.
And the women's health and abortion provider has defended the practice of donating fetal tissue for biomedical research, with the consent of the women involved. Congress authorized the use of fetal tissue for research in the 1990s, with the caveat that donors couldn't profit financially from the sale of human tissue.
But in the video, the process of extracting usable tissue from the remains of aborted fetuses is portrayed as shocking and disturbing by a former employee of Stem Express, a biomedical company that has contracted with some clinics for tissue, as she describes being asked to help by a supervisor.
"She's picking parts away from the vaginal tissue," Holly O'Donnell says. "She has tweezers and she's like, this is a head, this is an arm, this is a leg ... the moment I took the tweezers, I remember grabbing a leg and I said 'this is a leg,' and the moment I picked it up I felt death and pain."