Jul 22 2015
Fischer Joins Senator Joni Ernst, 48 Senators in Letter to HHS, Calling for Answers to Grotesque Practices by Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) joined Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and 48 Republican senators in a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, calling for the department to comply with investigations into Planned Parenthood.
Senator Fischer released the following statement regarding the letter:
“The videos of Planned Parenthood executives negotiating the price of baby body parts are appalling. This organization receives over half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding each year – which I oppose – and these practices must be investigated thoroughly.
“I am disgusted by these revelations. Congress has a duty to conduct robust oversight and determine whether this organization has broken the law. If so, they must be held accountable.”
This month, two videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing, in gruesome detail, the organization’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies.
In the letter to HHS Secretary Burwell today, the senators draw attention to the legal, ethical, and policy issues raised in the videos. They call on HHS Secretary Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these questions.
The senators also requested that the secretary confirm the commencement or immediate initiation of a “thorough internal review of the compliance of the Department and Planned Parenthood – one of the Department’s grantees – with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.”
Below is the full text of the letter:
July 22, 2015
The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Dear Secretary Burwell,
We are deeply disturbed by recent footage released by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in graphic detail the organization’s practice of harvesting the organs of unborn babies.
This footage raises 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.
In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy – sometimes even later than 5 months – that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested.
Congress is undertaking efforts to address these questions, and we expect the Department of Health and Human Services to fully cooperate with ensuing investigations – including future requests for information and hearing participation. To that end, we further expect the immediate preservation of any and all Department electronic and paper records that could have any relevance to any ongoing or forthcoming lawful investigation.
It is our understanding that, to date, you have refrained from commenting on the questions raised by the footage until you can review the matter further. We appreciate your acknowledgement that this matter requires further examination, and upon your receipt of this letter, we request that you confirm in writing that you have either commenced or will immediately initiate a thorough internal review of the compliance of the Department and Planned Parenthood – one of the Department’s grantees – with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements. Please also include a description of the expected scope of the internal review, as well as an estimated completion date.
We look forward to future correspondence on this matter, and we hope that we can count on you as a key partner in our efforts to address the various legal, ethical, and policy concerns raised by the information contained in the footage.
To view the letter and signatories, click here.
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