Planned Parenthood cleared of wrongdoing in key state

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington State have been cleared of any allegations of wrongdoing, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.

In a 48-page report, Attorney General Bob Ferguson rejected claims that Planned Parenthood has performed partial-birth abortions or that any of its clinics sell fetal tissue for profit “rather than simply recovering costs.”

“We found no indication that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are anything other than performance of a legally authorized medical procedure,” Ferguson wrote in his report.

Ferguson’s findings are particularly important because Washington is one of only two states where a Planned Parenthood clinic allows women to donate fetal tissue to medical research. The report is a result of a four-month investigation, which was requested by state Republican leaders.

As part of the probe, the attorney general obtained a consent form used by Planned Parenthood clinics for women who wish to donate tissue.

In the six-page letter from university research, they make clear that tissue is used only for research and education purposes. 

"Tissue is never used for commercial purposes," the consent form reads, with the word "never" underlined and written in bold.

The donation of fetal tissue is a legal, though controversial, practice that came under scrutiny after a series of sting videos this summer.  

The videos from the Center for Medical Progress show jarring — albeit heavily edited — dialogue of clinic staffers discussing the procurement of tissue from aborted fetuses, which is used for medical research.

Planned Parenthood has been accused of breaking state and federal laws, claims that the organization has strongly denied.

More than a dozen other states have also ended investigations of Planned Parenthood without finding any illegal or suspicious activity.  

Congressional leaders have announced their own probe into the organization, which consists of about a dozen members from both parties.