Tags: Abortion | congress | pressure | defund | planned | parenthood | undercover

50 GOP Senators Call for Planned Parenthood Investigation

Image: 50 GOP Senators Call for Planned Parenthood Investigation
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By    |   Wednesday, 22 Jul 2015 06:09 PM

Congress ratcheted up the pressure on Planned Parenthood Wednesday in light of two undercover videos showing top medical officials discussing the sale of fetal parts, with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and 49 other Senate Republicans pressing the Obama administration on an investigation into the organization.

"The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions," the senators wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell.

"In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy, sometimes even later than 5 months, that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested," the letter said.

The undercover videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress. They both show top Planned Parenthood medical officials meeting with people posing as potential buyers of intact fetal specimens.

Federal law prohibits the commercial sale of fetal tissue, but allows nonprofit donation of tissue if the women who underwent abortions give their consent.

Planned Parenthood has contended that the payments discussed in the videos involved reimbursement for the costs of procuring the tissue, which is legal.

The videos have caused an uproar on Capitol Hill, with House Speaker John Boehner last week ordering an investigation and at least two House panels, the Judiciary Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, beginning inquiries into whether Planned Parenthood violated federal law.

In the Senate, several Republicans are drafting legislation seeking to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding — and many of the 2016 presidential contenders have slammed the organization.

Candidate Mike Huckabee called the footage "sickening," saying that it should trigger a larger debate on abortion in the United States.

"It's time for this country to decide whether or not we believe that the willful destruction of a human body, a human life and talking about the selling of parts of a baby as if we were trading parts for a Buick at an auto parts store, whether it's time to decide that's not civilized behavior," the former Arkansas governor told "America's Newsroom" on Fox News.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that "Congress has every right" to investigate Planned Parenthood in light of the footage.

And former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was among the other GOP candidates who also slammed the organization.

In their letter Wednesday, Ernst and the other senators also requested that Burwell confirm whether or not "a thorough internal review" has been launched of "the compliance of the department and Planned Parenthood … with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements."

Ernst, who was elected to the Senate in November, called the videos "morally reprehensible, vile" — adding that they raised "a number of questions that taxpayers deserve answers to.

"As a defender of life, I remain committed to getting these answers because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Congress ratcheted up the pressure on Planned Parenthood Wednesday in light of two undercover videos showing top medical officials discussing the sale of fetal parts, with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and 49 other Senate Republicans pressing the Obama administration...
congress, pressure, defund, planned, parenthood, undercover, videos
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2015-09-22
Wednesday, 22 Jul 2015 06:09 PM
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