Dem senator backs Planned Parenthood probe
© Planned Parenthood

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink MORE (D-W.Va.) is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to comply with congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood in the wake of two secretly-recorded videos. 

Manchin joined 49 Republican colleagues on a letter Wednesday to HHS Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellBogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration The swamp wasn't drained — it expanded Pence, Fauci to brief lawmakers on coronavirus MORE that called on her department to "fully cooperate" with the investigations. 
 
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"We expect the Department of Health and Human Services to fully cooperate with ensuing investigations—including future requests for information and hearing participation," the senators wrote. "We expect the immediate preservation of any and all Department electronic and paper records that could have any relevance." 
 
Manchin is the only Democrat on the letter. 
 
The senators also want the department to launch an internal review of itself and Planned Parenthood in regard to "all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.” 
 
Wednesday's letter follows the release of two videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the preservation of fetal tissue, and the cost of saving and using the tissue. 
 
The two videos were taken by people posing as parties interested in buying tissue, and were released by the anti-abortion rights Center for Medical Progress.
 
Planned Parenthood has said the videos were selectively edited and show no wrongdoing by officials, but they have added new life to the Republican push to cut off federal funding to the organization. 
 
The 50 senators said in the letter that the videos raise "a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions."
 
They also tied the videos to the larger political battle surrounding abortion, saying that it brings up policy questions about "abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy—sometimes even later than five months—that an unborn baby's organs can be identified and harvested."
 
The letter follows a separate letter on Tuesday from 11 Republican senators, demanding a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal tissue.