Live action news 4/12/2016

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Congressional Panel refers Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for criminal prosecution
By Susan Michelle-Hanson | December 1, 2016 , 10:15pm
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On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel for Infant Lives announced it has referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for criminal prosecution for its role in the trafficking of aborted fetal body parts.

Operation Rescue noted:

It was discovered that Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast broke the law when it sold aborted baby remains for profit to the University of Texas. Operation Rescue’s Texas attorney, Briscoe Cain, received evidence of this illegal conduct through a FOIA request and referred the evidence on to investigators. The Select Panel referred the case to the Texas Attorney General.

Texas Right to Life responded to the news:

Today, the United States House of Representatives Select Panel on Infant Lives released some of the findings compiled from months of investigation. The findings in the interim report include a list of nine abortion affiliates and fetal tissue procurement companies that the panel has referred for criminal and regulatory sanction. Among the offenders on the list in today’s release is Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in southeast Texas and Louisiana.

The Texas and Louisiana Planned Parenthood affiliate is one of nine criminal and regulatory referrals from the Select Panel. The list includes (per Operation Rescue): the University of New Mexico (in partnership with Southwestern Women’s Options, a late-term abortion facility); fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress; an Arkansas abortion facility; a university in Ohio; DV Biologics, a fetal tissue procurement company; Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), another fetal tissue procurement company; Presidential Women’s Center, a Florida abortion facility; and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast affiliate of the abortion chain was implicated in undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress. In August of 2015, Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released its gruesome fifth video, in which the Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, reveals the way Planned Parenthood is willing to alter the abortion procedures on women so that buyers can obtain the “right specimens” such as “intact fetal cadavers.”

CMP reported:

Farrell finally summarizes her affiliate’s approach to fetal tissue payments: “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”

Farrell also indicates to the investigators over lunch that the specimen sales from her department contribute significantly to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s overall finances: “I think everyone realizes, especially because my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States. Larger than any the other affiliates’ combined.” In a Texas Senate hearing on July 29, former Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinic director Abby Johnson estimated that the affiliate had previously made up to $120,000 per month off of aborted fetal tissue.

As Texas Right to Life notes, former Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson “mismanaged the case to the benefit of her friends at Planned Parenthood,” indicting “citizen journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the heroes who documented the shocking misconduct of Planned Parenthood” instead of prosecuting Planned Parenthood “after they were caught red-handed in blatant wrong-doing.”

Charges against the CMP investigators were later dropped, and Anderson was not re-elected. But as Texas Right to Life notes, Daleiden’s and Merritt’s indictments remain “a disgrace to Harris County.” Now, however, the Select Panel has offered another opportunity to prosecute. In response to the news, the Center for Medical Progress released a statement, saying in part:

The Select Panel is the only official, comprehensive, nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and sale of aborted fetal organs, and their findings confirm the criminal activity at Planned Parenthood that CMP’s videos documented and show that the wrongdoing goes even deeper than anyone first suspected. The Panel has also criminally referred Planned Parenthood’s closest business partners in the sale of aborted baby parts to various state and local law enforcement. Law enforcement and elected representatives at all levels must now act quickly to bring Planned Parenthood to justice under the law and prevent any more taxpayer subsidies from flowing to Planned Parenthood’s barbaric criminal enterprise.

CMP’s videos on the entities referred by the Panel for criminal prosecution can be found at these links:

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
StemExpress
DaVinci Biosciences/DV Biologics
Advanced Bioscience Resources

As CMP notes:

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). Federal law also requires that no alteration in the timing or method of abortion be done for the purposes of fetal tissue collection (42 U.S.C. 289g-1).

Also on Thursday, the House Committee on Administration voted in favor of H. Res. 933, which will double the budget for the Select Panel’s continued investigation into the fetal parts industry. Select Panel Chair Marsha Blackburn responded to the vote:

… The House charged members of this Panel with investigating fetal tissue trafficking, second- and third-trimester abortion practices, the standard of care for infants who survive abortions, and the role played by our taxpayer dollars in this sector of society. Over the last year, we have held hearings that explored the bioethics surrounding fetal tissue use and that revealed the sobering reality of how some bad actors seek to profit from the sale of fetal tissue in violation of federal law.

… Evidence we have uncovered reveals that the unethical and potentially unlawful practices of some bad actors may be putting important research at risk. Considering all that our Panel has identified, despite having barely a year to conduct this investigation, it is now up to us to build on this work, to hold our government accountable, and to stop these affronts to human dignity.

With an increased budget, it seems likely there may be more criminal referrals and findings from the Select Panel.

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