Newsbreak

Senate Judiciary Committee refers Planned Parenthood for FBI investigation

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood Federation of American, four Planned Parenthood affiliates, and a number of fetal tissue procurement organizations to the FBI and the Department of Justice for criminal referrals regarding their fetal tissue practices and transfers.

The organizations and businesses named in the criminal referral are:

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • StemExpress, LLC
  • Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.
  • Novogenix Laboratories, LLC
  • Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
  • Planned Parenthood Los Angeles
  • Planned Parenthood Northern California
  • Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is “the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country,” operating out of California and Nevada. At least two of the other affiliates operate clinics where Planned Parenthood aborts viable babies who could survive outside the womb.

The committee specifically noted their concerns that Planned Parenthood’s national organization may have violated the law, in addition to behaving in an unethical manner:

While the Committee does not have all the details of what transpired between the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and these affiliates, the facts uncovered raise a reasonable suspicion that these organizations, and/orindividuals employed by them, may have engaged in a conspiracy to violate the fetal tissue law(18 U.S.C. § 371). Therefore, I am referring the practices of these organizations, as outlined in the report, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution for this offense, as well. …

[I]t appears that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America learned that its affiliates engaging in paid fetal tissue programs were not following the policies and procedures it had put in place to ensure compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2. However, instead of exercising its oversight procedures to bring them into compliance, it contacted the affiliates involved and then altered those oversight procedures in a manner that allowed the affiliates’ conduct to continue.

The 547 page report from the Judiciary Committee on human fetal tissue research details several potential violations of the law, noting:

Since 2010, three companies – Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; StemExpress, LLC; and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC (Novogenix has since gone out of business) – have paid affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to acquire aborted fetuses, and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.

Senator Grassley’s office released a statement, which says in part:

“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral. But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it,” Grassley said. “And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.”

Grassley’s referral follows the completion of a Senate Judiciary Committee majority staff analysis of more than 20,000 pages of documents provided voluntarily by the organizations and companies involved.  While the impetus for the investigation was the release of a series of videos regarding transfers of fetal tissue by the Center for Medical Progress, the committee’s analysis and findings are based strictly on the documents obtained independently from tissue procurement companies and Planned Parenthood. [Emphasis added.]

The report notes, “As a result, contrary to the intent of the law, companies have charged thousands of dollars for specimens removed from a single aborted fetus; they have claimed the fees they charged only recovered acceptable costs when they had not, in fact, conducted any analysis of their costs when setting the fees; and their post hoc accounting rationalizations invoked indirect and tenuously-related costs in an attempt to justify their fees.”

Now the Attorney General and FBI will be part of the ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices, as well as those of fetal tissue procurement agencies that work with the abortion chain.

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