The Justice Department is investigating Planned Parenthood over the nationwide abortion provider’s practices involving fetal tissues, according to news reports citing a letter that was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd formally requested unredacted documents from the committee’s probe last year into claims that Planned Parenthood had profited off the transfer of tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to research firms, Fox News and The Hill reported last night.
The DOJ letter states that, “At this point, these records are intended for investigative use only.”
“The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available,” the letter states.
Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last year that his committee had uncovered enough evidence to refer the matter to the FBI. The Hill reported last month that the FBI had asked the Senate for documents it obtained from abortion providers, signaling that agents may be probing the organization.
Anne Columbia, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, called the investigation “politically motivated.”
“That’s been going on for quite a while with this administration,” Columbia said. “This is just a repeat of an attack against Planned Parenthood. … We already addressed that several years ago, and it was a falsehood.”
Columbia said under no circumstances will the investigation have an impact on the care that women and others receive.
“We provide services to men, women and to transgendered people, and we will continue to,” Columbia said. “We’re fortunate to live in Massachusetts when it comes to reproductive health.”
But Massachusetts Citizens For Life President Anne Fox applauded the federal investigation into the women’s health organization’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue.
“I just feel like it’s 2 1/2 years or more late,” Fox told the Herald last night. “Once these terrible allegations came out, it should have been immediately looked at. … I think it’s wonderful to see the federal government involved.”
“The practice of selling fetal tissue has been going on at Planned Parenthood for some time, as we’ve seen with the videos that came out,” Fox said, referring to an undercover probe conducted in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life activist group, that recorded meetings with Planned Parenthood officials during which they discussed the sale of fetal tissue.
“Those videos shocked people; it made people absolutely ill,” Fox said. “People don’t want to think about abortion and they don’t want to think that they’re dealing with a human being when we’re talking about dismembering. We saw lists saying this organ costs this, a brain costs that … It was horrible.”
Planned Parenthood’s national leadership has dismissed the claims that it has profited by selling fetal material to research firms as “baseless” and a political effort to thwart abortion services.
“Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong,” Dana Singiser, vice president of government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement last month.
“These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research.”
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