Eleven GOP Senators Demand Justice Department Investigation Into Planned Parenthood

Cite Concern of Unlawful Acts by Popular Abortion Provider

Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., delivered an emotional speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday about the recent Planned Parenthood undercover video and their abortion practices to harvest body parts.
Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., delivered an emotional speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday about the recent Planned Parenthood undercover video and their abortion practices to harvest body parts. | (Photo: screengrab, Senator Lankford)

Eleven U.S. Senators signed a letter to the attorney general and the Department of Health and Human Services, requesting a thorough investigation of whether Planned Parenthood has violated federal law prohibiting the sale of human fetal tissue for profit.

"The disturbing facts revealed in this video raise the question whether the employees of a federally funded organization have violated federal law by engaging in the transfer of human fetal tissue for profit, and whether the modification of abortion techniques for the purpose of obtaining that tissue violates applicable research guidelines established by federal law," the 11 senators wrote.

The letter was addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell on Tuesday. Some of the signers of the letter requesting a federal investigation include Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

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Last week, Sen. Lankford delivered an emotional address on the topic on the Senate floor.

The eleven Senators cited Section 498B and A of the Public Health Service Act. The law purportedly prohibits transactions of fetal parts for profit as well as altering abortive procedures for the purpose of acquiring human body parts. The law does state that "reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue" is permitted.

After the release of the second video, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, echoed the 11 Senators calling for a federal investigation to see if federal laws were violated.

"Congress must investigate whether Planned Parenthood, which receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year, is complying with applicable laws and regulations," Sen. Hatch declared.

In the first video released by the Center for Medical Progress, Deborah Nucatola, a top medical official at the organization, admits that Planned Parenthood does not want to be seen as 'selling tissue' or 'making money off of" the transactions.

So far Planned Parenthood is sticking with their story that transactions for aborted baby parts and tissue is only to cover the "actual costs" associated with the abortion provider's procedures and practices.

The White House defended Planned Parenthood on Friday when Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who admitted to not seeing the video, declared, "I did read the news reports indicating that the policies that are followed by Planned Parenthood are entirely consistent with the strictest ethical guidelines that have been established in the healthcare industry." Earnest brushed off a question regarding Obama's support for the selling of aborted baby parts, and referred follow up questions regarding Planned Parenthood's compliance to the organization itself.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump offered his first comments regarding the Planned Parenthood controversy saying that the organization "should be defunded." Trump called the videos "sad to watch" and added that the attitude of the woman in the video was "a disgrace." Some conservative pundits have complained this week that Trump is distracting from the Planned Parenthood story by stealing headlines.

Kirsten Powers, a former aide in the Clinton White House and popular political pundit, published a piece in USA Today Wednesday titled, "Crush Planned Parenthood." Powers called the content of the video "stomach-turning stuff." Powers countered Planned Parenthood's claims that the video was heavily edited, when a longer version of footage was released nearly simultaneously.

"As my friend and former Obama White House staffer Michael Wear tweeted, 'It should bother us as a society that we have use for aborted human organs, but not the baby that provides them,'" declared Powers.

The Christian Post learned late Wednesday that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, led a broader bipartisan coalition of 49 Senators that signed onto a letter asking the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the actions of Planned Parenthood related to the release of two videos by the Center for Medical Progress. The letter states specific concern whether the popular abortion provider is in compliance with federal law regulating the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortion procedures.

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