The Justice Department is opening an investigation into the nation's largest abortion provider and its harvesting and selling of aborted baby body parts to companies and universities interested in purchasing the organs for research.
Fox News reported Thursday that they had obtained a letter that the Justice Department sent to Congress requesting documents from a 2016 congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood and other biotechnology firms procuring fetal tissue for research purposes.
"The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the department's ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available," wrote Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd in the letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, had recommended the DOJ investigate Planned Parenthood and others when his committee published its final report "Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy."
The DOJ first asked Congress for the documents in November, the report noted.
The dealings between Planned Parenthood and biotech companies in the harvesting and selling of aborted babies' tissue, organs and limbs was exposed in the summer of 2015 by The Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life investigative group.
CMP's David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt posed as biomedical researchers and released undercover video footage of themselves speaking extensively with top Planned Parenthood executives, inside and outside of abortion clincics, about acquiring fetal tissues and organs from them. Planned Parenthood employees are seen on tape speaking cavalierly about how they harvest the body parts during abortion procedures and negotiating the cost of specific tissue and organs.
"Over two years ago, citizen journalists at The Center for Medical Progress first caught Planned Parenthood's top abortion doctors in a series of undercover videos callously and flippantly negotiating the sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains," Daleiden said Thursday.
"It is time for public officials to finally hold Planned Parenthood and their criminal abortion enterprise accountable under the law."
Pro-life politicians and advocates are praising the government's move.
"We applaud any action by the DOJ to follow the evidence where it leads — and the Senate Judiciary report reveals substantial evidence suggesting Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of baby body parts," said Lila Rose, president of Live Action, also a pro-life investigative group that has gone undercover to expose the abortion business' practices.
Conressman Lou Barletta, a Republican from Pennsylvania, likewise, tweeted the Fox News report on Thursday, noting: #DOJ waiting several years before addressing the #PlannedParenthood scandal is unsettling.
"Every child has a #RightToLife. We should cherish every child as a blessing. After the #PlannedParenthood videos surfaced, it was clear their practices warranted an investigation," Barletta added.
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, also welcomed the investigation in a statement to The Christian Post that echoed Rose, adding that "in light of this information Congress needs to follow through on their commitment to defund our nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood."
The abortion giant maintains that they have done nothing wrong and that the CMP videos were deceptively edited, despite the videos having been released in their entirety.