House GOP leaders order investigation into Planned Parenthood video
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has ordered a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, one day after an undercover video surfaced in which a high-level official discusses transferring the organs of aborted fetuses.
Boehner is also urging the Obama administration “to denounce, and stop, these gruesome practices,” according to a statement from his office Wednesday.
“When an organization monetizes an unborn child — and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video — we must all act,” Boehner’s statement reads.
His comments, which come after similar remarks by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), are certain to inflame the already-heated debate over the video, which Planned Parenthood has said “grossly mischaracterizes” their use of fetal tissue. McCarthy on Wednesday pledged to assist House committees with their investigations, calling the claims “grotesque and inhumane.”
Minutes after Boehner’s statement, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it will begin a probe into the video, which was produced by a previously unknown anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress.
Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t yet know whether the committee will hold hearings.
“The first step is seeking information,” he said, adding that he plans to send a letter to Planned Parenthood as early as Thursday.
Upton said he hadn’t heard of any Democrats in support of his effort, but hopes they will ultimately join.
“I’ve got to believe that anyone – hearing the story last night, seeing the stories this morning, front page of The Post – it’s pretty appalling,” he said.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) also announced Wednesday afternoon that he is demanding more details about the claims.
“The House Judiciary Committee is investigating these horrific acts including ascertaining how Congress might act,” he wrote in a statement.
In the now-viral video, a high-level Planned Parenthood official is heard describing the transfer and demand for aborted fetal tissue — including livers, lungs and “intact hearts.”
Planned Parenthood confirmed that it is their senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatela, who appears in the video but fiercely disputes that the conversation was about selling body parts.
“Deborah Nucatela was speculating on the range of reimbursement that patients can receive after stating they wish to donate any tissue after a procedure,” the organization wrote in a report prepared by its public relations firm.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and several other Republican presidential candidates have called for probes into the claims. The governors of Texas and Louisiana have also begun investigations into the nonprofit women’s health center in response to the video.
–This report was updated at 4:02 p.m.
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