Senate committee refers Planned Parenthood to FBI for criminal investigation
Update December 14, 2016: See follow-up report with pro-life leaders' reactions: Funding of Planned Parenthood’s ‘barbaric abortion empire’ must end: pro-life leaders on Senate’s FBI referral.
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, announced today he is referring several Planned Parenthood affiliates and companies involved in fetal tissue transfers, as well as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and possible prosecution. The recommendation is one of the fruits of a massive report on human fetal tissue research the Senate Judiciary Committee just released.
The Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation discovered Planned Parenthood's and fetal tissue companies' various violations of laws against selling human body parts. It also uncovered a lack of enforcement of these laws.
"I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral," said Grassley. "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. 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."
The Senate Judiciary Committee analyzed more than 20,000 pages of documents voluntarily provided by organizations related to the fetal tissue industry. A press release from Grassley's office noted, "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."
According to the Chairman's office, the following abuses have taken place in the abortion industry:
- The executive branch across multiple administrations has failed to enforce safeguards in federal law prohibiting the sale of fetal tissue.
- 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.
- The cost analyses provided by affiliates of Planned Parenthood for America lack sufficient documentation and rely on unreasonably broad and vague claims of costs for “the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of” fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood attorneys acknowledge that the affiliates had failed to follow procedures put in place to ensure compliance with the law. In addition, the cost analyses were only performed long after the fact and at the insistence of the committee.
"With no executive branch oversight and no meaningful risk of prosecution, the companies involved in transferring fetal tissue have been free to receive substantial payments with impunity, relying on an expansive interpretation of the exception to the ban on selling fetal tissue," the report explained. "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."