Updated at 5:37 p.m. EST to include statement from Rep. Trent Franks.
Updated at 3:56 p.m. to include statements from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Tony Perkins.
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – One day after an undercover video showed a senior Planned Parenthood official discussing her apparent use of an illegal abortion technique to harvest and sell fetal organs, Congress has announced it will investigate the abortion giant.
“Congress must—and will—investigate and put an end to these barbaric practices,” Congressman Chris Smith, R-NJ, said in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol today.
Smith, who authored the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, called Planned Parenthood's sale of unborn babies' body parts “another cruel manifestation of human trafficking.”
The video, released by the Center for Medical Progress, reveals a host of potential illegal activity.
“Current law that proscribes altering abortion procedures in order to procure baby organs and body parts – as well as the law that says it is 'unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration' – need to be enforced and if need be, strengthened,” Congressman Smith said. “The ban on partial-birth abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act may have relevance here, as does the House-passed Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
His investigation has the full support of the House Republican leadership.
“When an organization monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act,” Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, announced. “As a start, I have asked our relevant committees to look into this matter. I am also calling on President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices.”
His closest deputy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, added, “I will be working with House Committees to investigate the claims made by the employee. We should all agree that no life is expendable, and our society has no place for such callous indifference to life.”
The Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee – Chairman Fred Upton, Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn, Tim Murphy, and Joe Pitts – vowed, “The committee will get to the bottom of this appalling situation.”
Congress believes it should not act alone.
“It is an unspeakable disgrace that the Obama Justice Department will likely never launch a criminal investigation to look into these unconscionable acts that were clearly covered up by Planned Parenthood – from the CEO, Cecile Richards, down to the workers at the clinics who performed these gruesome acts,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, a pro-life leader in the House. “If our government and the American people look the other way from this kind of insidious evil, we do so at our moral peril.”
National pro-life groups likewise rallied at the Capitol and in front of the White House today to demand action.
Christian Defense Coalition's Rev. Patrick Mahoney told LifeSiteNews that the pro-life effort in front of Longworth House Office Building “was more of a witness than a demonstration, since Speaker Boehner has been a strong advocate of defunding Planned Parenthood.”
Standing with Mahoney's group were Created Equal, Operation Rescue, and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. All of the groups were on Capitol Hill for a 10:00 event before going to the White House for what one activist described as a “die-in.”
“Our position is clear. With taxpayer funding, there is more of a responsibility on Congress to ensure how that money is being used, and no laws are being broken,” said Mahoney.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chose to “applaud the news today that the House leadership is directing committees to investigate.”
“The Senate should do the same,” he added — a move suggested by Sen. Ted Cruz.
“The American people demand justice and want to know why they are being forced to send their money to an organization that is known for covering up sex trafficking, engaging in sex selection abortion, and now fetus farming,” Perkins concluded.