Planned Parenthood — under fire for a series of undercover videos that shows its officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal organs for research — could see its federal funding yanked by Congress as early as next week, Sen. Mike Lee tells Newsmax TV.
"It looks like we are going to have a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe that we are going to have a vote within the next week or so on that point and I'm pleased with that," Lee, a Utah Republican and member of the Tea Party Caucus, said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"This needs to happen because, look, it is tragic in my opinion that we allow the killing of these babies, the way that we do. It is doubly tragic that we are funding it and thereby subsidizing it, thereby encouraging it," Lee said.
"Potentially, encouraging and allowing people who are receiving federal funds, who are advising women, women in distress, making this decision, who may actually have a profit motive in doing this. We can't allow this to persist, certainly not with federal funding."
Two videos, shot by the conservative Center for Medical Progress, show its undercover actors speaking with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, and Dr. Mary Gatter, one of its medical directors, about what the group charges for organs and the procedures it uses to obtain them.
The footage spurred Lee and many other Republican lawmakers to demand an investigation of Planned Parenthood, which, according to the group's annual report, has received $4.3 billion in government funding over the last 10 years.
A third video, released Tuesday, shows a Planned Parenthood official discussing the price of organs and an interview with a woman who says she worked in one of the clinics that extracts organs from aborted fetuses.
Planned Parenthood, says the videos are heavily edited and insists that abortions are only a miniscule part of its services, which focus on family planning and health and nutrition services. The group's officials also deny having broken any laws.
But Lee is not so sure.
"It is arguably against the law and that's one of the reasons why an investigation needs to be conducted. But in addition to that, there is something deeply unsettling about the fact that they have so commoditized these fetuses," Lee told Steve Malzberg.
"They have dehumanized them to the point that they can just talk about them casually, to the point that they sell them in the open market. This is not OK and certainly the federal government ought not be subsidizing it."
Lee said one of the videos he watched made him "sick to my stomach the entire time I was watching it."
"It was deeply distressing to me to think about the fact that the federal government is providing funding to this entity, funding so that this entity can engage in these barbarous acts against human fetuses and then sell them out the back door," he said.
"This is just appalling and something needs to be done about it … at a minimum, we need to withhold funding while an investigation is conducted."
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