The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a formal investigation of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions, for their role in the alleged sale of baby body parts.
“The Justice Department’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is a major turning point in the battle to hold the nation’s largest abortion business accountable,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Dec. 8.
“Evidence shows Planned Parenthood sought to squeeze every last opportunity for cash from the sale of hearts, brains, lungs, and livers of aborted children… that ends now,” Dannenfelser continued.
The Justice Department confirmed Dec. 7 they were formally looking into allegations against Planned Parenthood for the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts.
The investigation comes two years after undercover journalist David Daleiden released footage of Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the price and monetary compensation of fetal tissue from aborted babies. The footage also includes conversations from representatives of StemExpress, a company that provides biological material for medical research companies.
“Over two years ago, citizen journalists at the Center for Medical Progress first caught Planned Parenthood’s top abortion doctors in a series of undercover videos callously and flippantly negotiating the sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers and brains,” said Daleiden Dec. 8, according to Fox News.
“It is time for public officials to finally hold Planned Parenthood and their criminal abortion enterprise accountable under the law,” he continued.
While federal law allows compensation for fetal tissue to be used for research purposes, the amount of money received from clinics is not allowed to be of “valuable consideration,” and should only cover the costs of transportation and preservation.
Planned Parenthood and other clinics were recommended to the Justice Department for investigation by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in December 2016, after publishing the “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy” report.
Grassley reported that the committee found “substantial evidence” suggesting that Planned Parenthood and other parties “may have violated” the law by charging more money for fetal tissue and baby body parts than was actually recommended.
Stephen Boyd, the Justice Department assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, originally requested the unredacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee from the 2016 report. Last month, the FBI additionally requested these documents for investigative purposes.
“The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available,” stated Boyd, according to Fox News.
Planned Parenthood has denied accusations of breaking the law.