Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and 10 other senators sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell requesting that they launch an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs.
Two undercover videos have been released by the Center for Medical Progress showing two Planned Parenthood senior executives—Dr. Deborah Nucatola and Dr. Mary Gatter—discussing the price “per specimen” of fetal organs.
In a video message, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards said Planned Parenthood does not profit from the sale of fetal tissue “in any way.”
In the letter, the senators write that Planned Parenthood may be in violation of sections 498A and 498B of the Public Health Service Act.
Section 498A prohibits abortion providers from altering their method of conducting an abortion in order to obtain human fetal tissue or organs. Section 498B forbids the sale of human fetal organs and tissue.
“The disturbing facts revealed in this video raise the question whether the employees of a federally funded organization have violated federal law by engaging in the transfer of human fetal tissue for profit, and whether the modification of abortion techniques for the purpose of obtaining that tissue violates applicable research guidelines established by federal law,” the senators wrote.
Lee was joined by Sens. David Vitter, R-La.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
You can read the full letter here:
On July 16, Lankford addressed the scandal on the Senate floor.
“We learned that this week an organization called Planned Parenthood is using children that are aborted and sending the bodies of those aborted children to research facilities, sometimes for sale, different body parts, to be used in research. These are not mice, these are not lab rats, these are children. Children that have gone through the process of a horrific abortion,” Lankford said.
“We have hard questions to deal with as a nation: budget, regulations, future direction that we’re going. Why don’t we add to the list, do we really care about children or not? And on a day that we passed an education bill, before we pat ourselves on the back saying how much we care about children, let’s make sure we’re dealing with a compassion for children at every age, not just at certain ages. Have we really become this numb? How do we turn it around?” Lankford concluded.
Other signatories addressed Planned Parenthood’s actions on their own as well, including three Republican presidential candidates.
In a statement last week, Paul vowed to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Not one more taxpayer dollar should go to Planned Parenthood, and I intend to make that goal a reality,” Paul said.
Rubio tweeted that Planned Parenthood should be defunded.
It’s time for Congress to act and defund Planned Parenthood now. SIGN THIS PETITION if you agree. https://t.co/2qPJbHDa7z
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 21, 2015
In a statement, Cruz said he sent a series of letters to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, requesting documents about their involvement with Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation program.
“The recent revelation by Planned Parenthood that it encourages its affiliates to perform abortions in certain ways in order to maximize profit is not only abhorrent, it may also violate federal law,” Cruz said. “Given NIH’s role in dispensing taxpayer dollars for fetal tissue-based research and StemExpress’s procurement of fetal tissue for profit, it is imperative that both followed federal law at every turn.”