The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday revealed a letter it sent to Planned Parenthood last week, requesting interviews with three of the non-profit health organization’s executive personnel. The letter signals an expansion of the already on-going Congressional investigation into evidence that the group sold aborted fetal tissue at a profit.
Currently, three separate Congressional committees are investigating the organization, which receives over $500 million in federal funds annually.
Undercover video that surfaced in July showed all three Parenthood employees, whose presence has been requested in front of the committee – Dr. Mary Gatter, Dr. Savita Ginde, and Melissa Farrell – discussing the donation of fetal tissue (a legal practice), or possible sale of the specimens.
Money received in exchanged for the ‘donation’ of any part of an aborted fetus may only cover shipping and handling costs. Any procured profit from the sale of an aborted body part is illegal under federal law.
Planned Parenthood has denied all allegations made against it by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, which shot the undercover videos posing as a biomedical research company interested in obtaining fetal tissue at a price.
Last Monday, Senate Democrats blocked a bill from coming to the floor which sought to stop federal funding of the non-profit through ending Medicaid reimbursements, and cutting off Title X (family planning) money.
“It is hard for anyone to defend these morally reprehensible videos as Planned Parenthood callously harvested the organs of unborn babies to be sold at a price,” legislative sponsor Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) said last week. “It is wrong. The American people know it, and they should not be asked to foot part of the bill.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), argued that defunding Planned Parenthood made no sense because it doesn’t receive any money from the government to fund abortions.
“(This) is not a vote to defund abortions,” Warren said at the time Ernst’s legislation was being considered. “It is a vote to defund cancer screenings, birth control, and basic health care for millions of women.”
In 2014, Planned Parenthood performed 328,000 abortions out of 10.6 million total service actions.
[Reuters] [Gatehouse Media] [photo credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]