WASHINGTON—Planned Parenthood should no longer receive federal funds, a special congressional panel has recommended following a nearly 15-month investigation.
The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives issued its final report Jan. 3 into the practices of abortion providers and others involved in the fetal tissue procurement business. The report not only called for congressional action to protect unborn children and their mothers, but it also recommended restrictions on government grants to abortion providers and on research using fetal tissue.
Congress established the panel—which operated under the umbrella of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce—in October 2015 after undercover videos allegedly provided evidence Planned Parenthood was trading in body parts from aborted babies. The secretly recorded videos appeared to show various executives of the country’s No. 1 abortion provider discussing their sale of fetal parts, as well as their willingness to manipulate the lethal procedure to preserve organs for sale and use.
Southern Baptist and other pro-life advocates commended the report.
“What the investigative panel discovered is what many of us already knew existed—a predatory industry that exploits women and families,” said Steven Harris, director of advocacy for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“The case studies conducted by the panel reveal years of negligence, cut corners and non-compliance, and my hope is that the swiftest of action be taken regarding the recommendations, and that the abortion industry might at long last be held accountable,” Harris told Baptist Press in written comments.
Steven Aden, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said of the panel’s findings on Planned Parenthood, “Congress should end taxpayer subsidies of an abortion business that has enjoyed nearly a billion dollars in profits over the last decade while taking more than $4 billion from American taxpayers. It’s time to end this immoral partnership that has been forced upon the American people.”
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates received $553.7 million in government grants and reimbursements in its latest financial year, 2014-15. Planned Parenthood’s affiliates performed 323,999 abortions during 2013-14, the most recent reporting year for which statistics are available.
Planned Parenthood’s receipt of federal funds has long produced opposition from Republicans and support from Democrats. Last January, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have eliminated about 90 percent of federal money for PPFA during the year. In mid-December, the Obama administration issued a final rule that effectively blocks states from prohibiting federal family planning funds for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
In its report, the panel asserted there was evidence some tissue-procurement companies illegally profited from the trade in body parts from aborted babies. One of the procurement firms, StemExpress, increased its revenue from about $156,000 in 2010 to $4.5 million in 2014 in its role as a middleman between abortion clinics and researchers, according to the report.
Planned Parenthood denied it made a profit but refused to provide accounting documents to demonstrate its claim, the panel reported.
The panel listed in the report 15 referrals it made for possible criminal or regulatory violations. In some cases, the referrals were for potential violations of federal or state laws by Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. The referrals also included possible illegal profiting from the sale of baby body parts by StemExpress and other tissue-procurement companies. (BP)