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U.S. House Investigates Planned Parenthood

Marsha Blackburn

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Chairman, House Select Panel on Infant Lives

Following journalist David Daleiden’s shocking video exposé of Planned Parenthood, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee said it would investigate the controversy surrounding profit from the sale of aborted baby body parts. The Chairman of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), held a hearing on April 20 to investigate whether the abortion industry, in particular Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in America, has financially benefited from the sale of aborted baby body parts, potentially breaking federal laws.

During testimony, pro-abortion committee members refused to debate the issue on its merit and accused the GOP of “political motivations.” Chairman Blackburn retorted, “When questions are being raised about the possibility that a federal statute has been violated, Congress has a duty to the taxpayers to find the facts and get to the bottom of what is actually going on.”

A 1993 federal statute prohibits the selling of fetal tissue, though witnesses say abortion providers have ignored that law for decades. The process works like this: Researchers at companies like Stem Express pay procurement technicians to shop around abortion clinics for suitable specimens. They obtain consent from patients and abort an unborn child, harvesting her tissue, sometimes even altering the abortion procedure to obtain the “best” specimens. The technician then packages and transports the body parts to the customer, records invoices, and makes sure the clinic is paid. One procurement website, entered as evidence during the hearing, shows a drop-down menu order from which researchers can purchase “heart, lungs, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, esophagus, tongue, [and] scalp.”

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards has vociferously denied benefiting from the abortion giant’s trafficking in aborted baby body parts. Those denials didn’t hold up well in the numerous courtroom exhibits that proved otherwise. A long list of convincing evidence emerged. Exhibit B2, a brochure from tissue procurement company Stem Express, emphasized the sale of baby body parts was “financially profitable” and “easy to implement”. Exhibits B4 and B5 showed explosive growth of Stem Express’ abortion facility access and dramatic revenue increases related to fetal sales. The C exhibits show how baby parts are identified, harvested, shipped, and sold. The D exhibits showed Stem Express paid Planned Parenthood $11,365 in August of 2010, $9,060 in January and February of 2011, and $6,010 in January of 2014. Exhibit F lists which body parts demand the highest price — upper and lower limbs at $890. One customer paid $42,535!

Three former federal prosecutors agreed that a criminal probe is warranted. “Based upon my review of the exhibits, a competent, ethical federal prosecutor could establish probable cause that both the abortion clinics and the procurement business violated the statute, aided and abetted one another in violating the statute, and likely conspired together to violate the statute,” testified Brian Lennon.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) urged his colleagues, “Questions of profit and legality matter because we are talking about people. It matters whether or not procurement businesses broke the law. It matters whether or not abortion clinics line their pockets through the dismemberment and distribution of children — all while receiving tax dollars. It matters because we are talking about the tiny limbs of babies with dignity — the broken yet still precious children of mothers and fathers … Our disagreement over abortion will be sometimes heated, but wherever possible, we should look for consensus. Here, on this basic reality, we can and must find agreement. Babies are not the sum of their body parts. Babies are not meant to be bought. Babies are not meant to be sold.”

Oregon Right to Life continues its investigation into the aborted baby parts connection between Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) and Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette (Portland). In a Statesman Journal article in August, 2015, OHSU admitted that it received “donated” placentas (which often contain fetal body parts) from abortions performed at Planned Parenthood. Upon further investigation by pro-life legislators, it was found that money did indeed change hands in the transactions.

These pro-life legislators called for a hearing to investigate further, but Oregon’s pro-abortion Speaker of the House cancelled the hearing. There is no Oregon enforcement agency interested in investigating what could certainly be crimes committed by Planned Parenthood or OHSU. Oregon Right to Life has hired a nationally recognized attorney who is well-versed in these matters.

OHSU had been stonewalling a public request until it became clear that ORTL would be taking the complaint to the Attorney General. Documents have just been received and the investigation will now move forward.

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