Georgia, Indiana and Ohio have all ordered investigations into local Planned Parenthood facilities after a heavily edited undercover video circulated that made it seem as though the organization was selling fetal tissue, which is against the law.
While Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has apologized for the “tone” of the official featured in the video, who was seen frankly and somewhat nonchalantly discussing procedures for transferring fetal organs to researchers, she emphasized that the process under scrutiny is strictly legal. Some Planned Parenthood affiliates have programs that help consenting, interested parties undergoing abortion procedures make not-for-profit fetal tissue donations that will help scientists develop treatments for diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s.
“Our donation programs—like any other high-quality health care providers—follow all laws and ethical guidelines,” Richards said in a video statement. According to Planned Parenthood, the monetary exchange referenced in the video was not the “selling” of fetal tissue, but rather reimbursement costs to be paid to the clinics handling the tissue donations.
Earlier this week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) trumpeted at a press conference that he would “vomit” if he watched the whole thing, calling it “disgusting.” His official statement on Wednesday was equally uninformed and reactionary:
“Nothing is more precious than life, especially an unborn child. When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act. As a start, I have asked our relevant committees to look into this matter. I am also calling on President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices.”
Three Republican-led committees are currently wasting tax dollars probing an “issue” that, as my colleague Anna pointed out earlier, has been pushed into the abortion debate many times over the years by anti-abortion activists and been continuously debunked each time.
A pair of Democratic congressmen, Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Steve Cohen of Tennessee, made a joint statement criticizing the investigation, writing that “House leadership is using a sensationalist and heavily edited video as an opportunity to attack one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality healthcare for women.”
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