The U.S. Department of Justice has officially opened an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts. A year ago, in December 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee completed its own investigation and forwarded a report to the Department of Justice with a recommendation to prosecute Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and several of its regional affiliates, as well as the tissue procurement companies who bought and sold the fetal parts. Now the Department of Justice has sent a letter requesting the unredacted documents used by the Judiciary Committee, citing an ongoing investigation.
Since the Center for Medical Progress began releasing its investigative footage in July 2015, Planned Parenthood has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. While multiple state and federal agencies opened investigations, Planned Parenthood continued to proclaim its innocence. As investigations finished, Planned Parenthood would add them to its list of investigations that “have shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong.” Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood does not mention that, while so far none of these investigations has ended in a conviction for selling fetal tissue, most have indeed turned up evidence of wrongdoing: performing second-trimester abortions without a license in Florida, keeping improper records and a lack of clinic sanitation in North Carolina, improperly disposing of fetal remains in Ohio, failing to report statutory rape, etc.
Unfortunately, the attorneys general of liberal states where the abortion industry was most active with fetal tissue sales, such as California, declined to investigate Planned Parenthood. Instead, the attorney general of California is investigating David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for their part in exposing Planned Parenthood. The attorney general of Washington State opened an investigation at the urging of the state legislature, but closed it after only a few weeks, claiming that the Center for Medical Progress videos showed no evidence of crimes. Some states, such as Arizona, still have open investigations.
The House of Representatives also convened a special panel to investigate Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices and uncovered even more evidence of wrongdoing, including violations of HIPAA by Planned Parenthood clinics eager to “facilitate” the “donation” of fetal tissue for which they were paid bounties. The clinics shared patient information with tissue procurement companies, enabling them to pinpoint the patients whose babies they wanted to harvest.
While the Senate and House have no power to prosecute for crimes, their investigations into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices have uncovered ample evidence to warrant an investigation by the Department of Justice—which does have the power to prosecute. This may mark the beginning of the end for Planned Parenthood.