A group of House Democrats are now asking for an investigation into the group behind a set of videos that show Planned Parenthood executives blithely discussing the sale of body parts from abortions.
Eleven Republican senators have already sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood has violated a federal law that bans the sale of fetal tissue.
Now several Democrats have written Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, demanding an investigation not of Planned Parenthood’s practices, but a probe of the whether the group that made the videos violated any laws by making and publishing the videos without Planned Parenthood’s consent. (VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Doctor: Clinics Harvest, Distribute Aborted Baby Parts)
Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Jerrold Nadler, Yvette Clarke and Zoe Lofgren blasted the group that made the videos, the Center for Medical Progress — a stark contrast from the many Republicans who have come out against funding for Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos’ release.
“This is a new low, even for anti-abortion activists who will stop at nothing in their effort to undermine a woman’s right to choose,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky said in a statement. “I believe the Center for Medical Progress may have broken the law in developing and executing this unbelievably elaborate and troubling scheme.”
“Like the millions of women who access their broad-range of health services every day, we trust Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “I urge the Department of Justice and the state of California to investigate the Center for Medical Progress and determine if their activities in planning and making these videos violated state and federal laws.”
The videos, which have cued outrage from conservatives and pro-life groups, show top Planned Parenthood executives discussing the harvesting and trafficking of body parts from aborted babies. The first video depicted Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing the process of “crushing” certain body parts while preserving others for harvesting, while eating a salad.
A follow-up video released this week shows Mary Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors’ Council, discussing whether a surgeon would be willing to perform abortions differently in order to keep tissue and organs intact. (VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Discusses ‘Violating’ Patient Consent In Order To Sell Aborted Fetuses)
David Daleiden, the executive director of the Center for Medical Progress, called the requests an effort to “persecute” the group for their efforts.
“Planned Parenthood is trying to use the power of their political cronies to shut down free speech, to silence the freedom of the press, to persecute me, and to save their half-a-billion in taxpayer money and avoid accountability to the law and the American people,” Daleiden said in a statement Wednesday.
“They will attack me and my organization all day long, but that does not change the facts about what our investigation has uncovered and what the American people now know — that Planned Parenthood is engaged in an enterprise-wide operation that traffics and sells baby body parts,” the statement continued.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted that the videos “raise some questions,” but called them “politically motivated,” telling The Daily Caller that “nothing I’ve seen indicates Planned Parenthood violated federal law.” (RELATED: Reid: ‘Politically Motivated Videos Against Planned Parenthood ‘Raise Questions’)
The Department of Justice may ultimately open an investigation on the issue.
“I’m aware of those matters generally from the media, and form some inquiries that have been made to the Department of Justice, and again at this point we’re going to review all the information and determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time,” Lynch said at a press conference Wednesday, according to The Hill.
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