Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson will be looking into federal oversight of fetal tissue research in the wake of a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers discussing receiving money for tissue from aborted fetuses, The Hill reports.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who along with 34 other Republican senators requested the action in October, touted the news as a victory on Tuesday.
"I am encouraged to see the Inspector General take action to investigate Planned Parenthood's unconscionable practices," Paul said in a prepared statement. "Planned Parenthood selling body parts of the unborn demonstrates that the organization deserves not one penny more of our taxpayer dollars, and I am confident this investigation will give further proof of that."
Paul released the letter sent to him by Levinson, which read, in part: "Our goal is to obtain information related to fetal tissue research grants, NIH's monitoring procedures over third-party certifications and those related to the department's internal fetal tissue research, and any known violations of federal requirements."
Levinson promised updates on the probe's progress, but didn't indicated how long the investigation might take to complete.
Planned Parenthood also issued a statement of approval on the investigation.
"We applaud the HHS for this timely review of practices around fetal tissue donation," Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said. "This work is often critical to lifesaving medical research, and has helped with important breakthroughs, such as the polio vaccine and research into a cure for Alzheimer's disease."
The organization also had requested a probe after the first videos began being released over the summer. Investigations in eight states have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, but it has stopped accepting payment
for fetal tissue to avoid charges it is illegally profiting from the practice.
Planned Parenthood itself is not part of the probe since it does not do fetal tissue research, although it does supply tissue to researchers.
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