Days after Democrats again demanded a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan to urge him to disband a House panel investigating possible illegal harvesting of unborn baby parts, two panel members and a spokesperson for Ryan indicate they will stay the course.
“Speaker Ryan believes Americans deserve to know the facts behind the industry of selling baby body parts. He is fully supportive of Chair Blackburn’s efforts to protect human life,” Ryan’s spokeswoman Ashlee Strong said in an email Friday to The Daily Caller.
The letter from seven Democrats doubled down on demands made throughout 2016 that Ryan disband the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which they say has a “partisan, dangerous nature…”
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, however, told TheDC on Friday that “the practice of selling body parts reveals the darkness and money focused nature of Big Abortion.”
“Selling baby organs for a profit sullies our Nation’s great tradition of organ donation and ethical scientific research — and worst of all it exploits women who are making one of the most difficult decisions they’ll face in their life,” continued the Tennessee Republican. “That is why it is imperative we remain focused and persistent in our work to protect women and their unborn children.”
According to Blackburn, “in some of the abortion clinics we are investigating, the Panel has discovered that abortion clinics routinely contract with a middleman company like StemExpress to pay the abortion clinic for each baby body part and then resell them at a 500 to 700 percent markup. This investigation must be exacting because selling baby body parts for a profit is a violation of federal law. It’s a ten-year felony.”
“The abortion industry’s trafficking of baby body parts should concern every person of conscience,” panel member and Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black said on Friday. “All Americans, regardless of their views on matters of life and the unborn, should want to know that our laws are followed and that taxpayer dollars are spent with integrity.”
“We’ve uncovered startling evidence of possible noncompliance with federal law,” Black continued in an e-mail to TheDC. “For example, we learned that the company’s consent form does not meet the requirements stipulated by the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Pro-life leaders back the continuing investigation, which by law must submit a report by the end of the year on what it found.
“Planned Parenthood’s multiple scandals clearly demonstrate why Congress is right to investigate,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox told TheDC on Friday. “And why America’s number one abortion seller does not deserve our taxpayer dollars. Elected officials have a duty and responsibility to steward our tax dollars, no matter which side of the aisle they are on.”
Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden told TheDC Wednesday that “Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry’s commodification of children through the harvesting and selling of little baby hearts, lungs, and brains for profit is about the character of our nation.”
“Our deepest values of human equality and human dignity cannot be severed with the umbilical cord,” Daleiden continued. “If even a tiny baby fetus is deemed ‘inconvenient’ and more valuable dead than alive, we will have no credibility to insist on the equal value of the lives of other marginalized people.”
“When I was collaborating with Mark Crutcher to expose the scandal back in the year 2000, we saw even more apathy about it than we do now,” Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone said in an e-mail Friday to TheDC. “We both commented that if society was not upset about the killing of the babies because it bought into the notion that they are not ‘persons,’ then the logical conclusion is not to be upset that the parts of these ‘non-persons’ should be harvested. Yet we have to continue awakening the consciences of people by exposing this.”
40 Days for Life founder David Bereit blamed the media for the lack of pressure by the American people as the Capitol Hill investigation has moved forward. “The fetal tissue harvesting investigation on Capitol Hill has not yet achieved the same level of impact [as the videos], likely due to the near media blackout of the hearings, and Planned Parenthood’s deceitful efforts to discredit the videos and vilify the undercover investigators,” he said Friday.
Last year, Planned Parenthood convinced many prominent media outlets to not report on Daleiden’s videos as they were released. Media Research Center fellow Katie Yoder slammed what she said was a continuation of this near-blackout by certain outlets in an e-mail to TheDC on Wednesday.
“From the beginning, the broadcast networks have censored the Planned Parenthood videos, from showing fewer than two minutes of the footage on air last summer down to the language anchors use. Even now, the networks refuse to update Americans on the story,” she stated. “This is about horrific footage showing aborted baby parts being picked apart in a dish with tweezers. This is about calling attention to abortion as it is: the destruction of a tiny human life.”
“Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of aborted baby parts has sparked nationwide protests, social media outrage, criticism from presidential candidates and a move in Congress to halt taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. That should be big news. But the media have an agenda to push and connections to keep. Forget journalistic integrity and a responsibility to American citizens,” Yoder said.
On Friday, Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said, “every life deserves to be protected” and asked, “Aren’t we worth more than the sum of our parts?”
“The life of a mother and her child are worth far more than an abortion facility’s bottom line,” he concluded.