by Countable | 12.14.17
UPDATE – December 14, 2017: The Department of Justice has launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of fetal tissue.
Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd formally requested unredacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee—the congressional panel that led the 2016 probe into the women’s health organization.
“At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only—we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the Department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury,” Boyd wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News.
Countable’s earlier story appears below.
The FBI recently asked the Senate Judiciary Committee for unredacted documents it obtained
from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. According to sources who spoke with The Hill, the FBI request has led some to wonder if the agency is considering a criminal probe into the alleged sale of fetal tissue.
Last December, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred several abortion providers to the FBI for investigation. As Fox News explained, "The senator said at the time that the Judiciary Committee had discovered enough evidence that shows how abortion providers had transferred fetal tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses for research by charging amounts higher than the actual cost."
Under a 1993 law, abortion providers are allowed to transfer fetal tissue for research at a cost equal to the price of obtaining it, but not for a profit.
Sources told the The Hill that Grassley is working to fulfill the FBI’s request in compliance with Senate rules.
The Senate probe (and a similar investigation by the House) was launched in response to the 2015 release of several undercover videos from anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress that showed abortion providers discussing how they took money for aborted fetuses.
As part of an investigation triggered by the videos, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted interviews and gathered documents. According to The Hill’s sources, "it is that information, including the unredacted documents Senate Judiciary gathered from abortion providers and fetal tissue firms, that was requested by the FBI."
The Justice Department and FBI have declined to comment.
Planned Parenthood has rejected claims it violated any laws or acted unethically.
"Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong," said Dana Singiser, Vice President of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The family planning organization also noted that it provided over 30,000 pages of documents and several witnesses to the earlier congressional probes.
These new accusations, Singiser said, "are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood." She continued:
"Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research."
Members of the pro-life community welcome a possible FBI probe. In a statement to Fox News, Catherine Glenn Foster, chief executive officer and president of Americans United for Life, said:
"While it has taken over two years for the FBI to show any sign of investigating Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting and selling of baby body parts, [we are] encouraged to see signs of an investigation moving forward." She added:
"There is a great deal of evidence showing the abortion industry has skirted both state and federal laws that serve as the bare-minimum protection for the dignity of human life."
A source familiar with Senate document procedures told The Hill that a full Senate vote would be required if copies of unredacted documents needed to be transferred to a grand jury.
Are you "encouraged to see signs of an investigation moving forward"? Or is this “part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood”? Hit Take Action, tell your reps, then share your unredacted thoughts below.
— Josh Herman
(Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr)
Written by Countable
Planned parenthood provides access to reproductive health for women. These are ungrounded accusations spurred on by anti abortionists who should take care of themselves and mind their own business. They are allowing their religious freedom to impinge on mine and that is not right. This country needs to protect all of our diverse religions and stop interfering. These are unfounded allegations.
The attack on abortion services COMBINED WITH a total lack of caring for ANY child past the age of conception, provides the people with hard-evidence of how little Trump and his supporters care about the actual lives of children. 🎚Trump’s goal is to manipulate stats to prove economic recovery. THERE IS NO HUMANITARIAN FOCUS ON THE LIVES OF CHILDREN. 🔌 Focus on the Family needs to wake up and realize Trump/Pence are no friend to the family. Trump is not interested in God or the protection of the family. They are interested in the birth rate, a stat.
Once again, Republicans and the Trump Administration are wasting tax dollars towards pointless investigations. It's plainly obvious that this is part of the GOP "War on Women" that they deny they are part of, and the desperation to scrape away the Affordable Care Act in any way that they can. Once again, I will state that reproductive freedom and access to affordable and quality reproductive health care, including the right to abortion, is one of the most sound economic practices that any county can make. The fact that the party in power (mostly made up of white, privileged men) are trying to sabotage a woman's right to family planning, quality health care, and the ability to decide what is best for her, is one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard of.
Can we stop trying to take away women’s rights. Wake up people and realize that all this government is doing is trying to take us back to when women and people of color had no rights! They want a Lilly white community and their women to shut up and do as they are told, it’s disgusting and we have come so far in the fight of equality for all, this is just another underhanded attempt to roll back the clock.
Oh for Pete’s sake keep your damn grubby filthy male hands off of women’s healthcare. Leave Planned Parenthood alone you sick people.
I know the fbi has real work to do This is a waste of time and taxpayer funds Religious right and the rich old white men in congress once again looking for ways to keep poor and middle class women from getting care Ridiculous The rich old white boy club can afford the birth control and abortions when needed They don’t care how many women died and will die in back alley abortions Very sick men in charge Not surprised when the idiot from iowa believes people waste their money on booze women and movies While he still has health care schedule him for a lobotomy
FBI investigating Planned Parenthood on the basis of now debunked videos? Complete waste of time! Spend tax dollars on people already born!
I have said it once before and will happily say it again. This is just an under handed attempt to roll back the clock to the Lilly white society where woman shut their mouths and do as they are told and anybody of color or any different background or sexual orientation is shoved in a corner with no rights.we can’t let them ruin how far we have come to make this world a better place!!
So . . . "As Fox News reports: 'The senator said . . .". This means the senator's opinion is more significant than "the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong?" This is beyond ridiculous!! There are a multitude of genuinely important issues that need Congress's serious, thoughtful attention. Get off it and onto what the citizens of this country truly need.
This is complete and utter ridiculous nonsense....fuck these religio-whack Assholes.
PP has already been investigated and proved of no wrong doing. It’s just another way anti- abortionist can write head lines saying . Planned Parenthood is being investigated for selling baby parts so they can get the support to shut them down.I understand transferring fetal tissue for medical science is legal as long as it is not for profit.
Purely political. They want to eliminate any means women have to family planning and other female health services. The FBI needs to do something worthwhile instead of taking their orders from trump and Ryan and the chief elf.
Stop wasting our tax dollars, and stop this war on women.
I would hope that this isn’t just an attempt to discredit this industry with pursuing false accusations, but I believe that the industry needs to live or die by telling the truth.
Everyone has the right to their religious beliefs. What they do NOT have the right to do is force them on everyone. Religion has no place in government which is for all citizens regardless of affiliations. If Planned Parenthood goes against your beliefs, don’t use their services.
Why does the GOP have to destroy safe places for women to get healthcare? Any tactic is justified? Awful!
Baby killers!! How can they be trusted with anything!!
Stop sending the FBI on these witch hunts. Tell them to investigate the wrong doings of our president.
Stop allowing the far right to force their version of sharia law on the rest of us.
It’s hilarious that the government will go after some companies that may or may not be making money, but say nothing when a company charges $2.04 for something that cost less than a quarter (25 cents).