(National Sentinel)Â Abortion Wrongs: The Department of Justice has opened a new investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged improper sale of fetal tissues and body parts.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd requested unredacted records related to the committeeâ€™s previous investigation into the organization,Â The HillÂ reported.
â€œThe Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Departmentâ€™s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available,â€ Boyd wrote.
Last year the committee began an investigation into the organization over allegations that the nation’s large abortion provider sold tissue and body parts for profits.
Those allegations stemmed from an undercover media investigation launched by the Center for Medical Progress, which captured several Planned Parenthood officials on video discussing price and profit from such sales.
The committee released a report in December 2016 detailing its findings. At the time, committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said enough evidence was found to justify an FBI investigation.
The FBI requested access to the unredacted documents last month, but was told the Justice Department needed to send an official request letter, along with a pledge that the requested documents would only be used for purposes related to an investigation, Fox News noted.
â€œAt this point, the records are intended for investigative use only â€” 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,â€ wrote Boyd.
The Judiciary’s 2016 report noted that Planned Parenthood clinics may have sold fetal organs for much higher prices than normal.
â€œThe report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue,â€ Grassley said at the time.
â€œIt also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law.â€
Federal legislation passed in 1993 allows for the sale of fetal organs and tissue but only for the cost to obtain those tissues.
Pro-life activists praised the DoJ’s follow-up investigation.
â€œI think itâ€™s fantastic, and I think the House and Senate should follow up by defunding Planned Parenthood,â€ Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the March for Life, told The Daily Beast. â€œThereâ€™s no way taxpayer funds should be going to an organization under investigation like this.â€
â€œWe applaud any action by the DOJ to follow the evidence where it leads â€” and the Senate Judiciary report reveals substantial evidence suggesting Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of baby body parts,â€ added Live Action founder Lila Rose.
â€œTaxpayers should not be forced to fund a corporation that commits over 320,000 abortions every year and is now under investigation by the Justice Department and FBI for the sale of baby body parts,” she said.
In a statement regarding the DoJ investigation, the Center for Medical Progress said it believes Planned Parenthood broke the law.
“Over two years ago, citizen journalists at The Center for Medical Progress first caught Planned Parenthoodâ€™s top abortion doctors in a series of undercover videos callously and flippantly negotiating the sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains,” the group said.
“Since then, two Congressional investigations found even deeper wrongdoing and confirmed that Planned Parenthood Federation of America, several of their biggest affiliates, and multiple business partners broke the law in a profit-driven scheme to commodify dismembered baby body parts,” it added.
“It is time for public officials to finally hold Planned Parenthood and their criminal abortion enterprise accountable under the law.”
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