The special Select Investigative Panel set up by House Republicans to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices will begin using subpoena power next week to force organizations to cooperate with several unmet document requests.
The panel staff has sent more than 30 letters to organizations requesting documents relevant to the investigation on a voluntary basis, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who chairs the panel, said in a statement announcing the planned subpoenas Friday. Starting next week the panel will begin issuing subpoenas to organizations that refuse to cooperate, beginning with Stem Express, the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options.
“Without these subpoenas, the American people and the House itself would be left to speculate about what is going on in the fetal tissue industry,” Blackburn said in the statement. “We cannot leave questions unanswered.”
Republicans set up the panel after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos filmed over the course of years that exposed the explicit details behind Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and distribution of fetal tissue. Some of the videos featured Stem Express, one of the processing companies that obtained the fetuses from Planned Parenthood and then shipped the demanded parts to various researchers and scientists.
The panel’s stated mission is to “get the facts” about the medical practices of abortion providers and the practices of businesses who procure and “sell baby body parts.” It’s also meant to serve as a centralizing force for related investigations already opened by the Energy and Commerce, Judiciary and Oversight Committees.
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