The Senate Judiciary Committee is recommending a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood for allegedly trafficking in fetal body parts from abortions for profit.
In a letter sent to the FBI and the Department of Justice on Tuesday, committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, referred four of Planned Parenthood’s largest affiliates, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and three of the abortion provider’s business partners for potential prosecution.
“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral,” Mr. Grassley said in a press release. “But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it. And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against criminalizing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the outcome is likely to continue.”
Although the Obama administration is unlikely to follow through on the recommendation, the referral will provide the Trump administration with a foundation to levy criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.
The referral follows an undercover video investigation into Planned Parenthood and its business partners published last year by the Center for Medical Progress. Those videos featured top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of human remains from abortions. Planned Parenthood said any fees associated with the trade covered only reimbursement costs.
But the committee said those videos played no part in its investigation into Planned Parenthood.
“While the impetus for the investigation was the release of a series of videos regarding transfers of fetal tissue by the Center for Medical Progress, the committee’s analysis and findings are based strictly on the documents obtained independently from tissue procurement companies and Planned Parenthood,” the press release states.
The Judiciary Committee released a report about the review of more than 20,000 documents provided by the organizations involved in the case.
Among its findings, the report said the cost analyses provided by Planned Parenthood “lack sufficient documentation and rely on unreasonably broad and vague claims of costs for the ‘transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of’ fetal tissue,” the press release said.
Furthermore, “the cost analyses were only performed long after the fact and at the insistence of the committee.”