What Missouri's Planned Parenthood Discovery Means For The National Committee Investigating The Nonprofit
If you're celebrating "National Pink Out Day" to show support for Planned Parenthood, then you'll be happy about this news. A Missouri investigation found that Planned Parenthood did not illegally handle fetal tissue. The conclusion, which attorney general Chris Koster announced Tuesday, could be a positive sign for similar investigations in other states, as well as for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's investigation into Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood chose Tuesday, September 29 as "National Pink Out Day," a day of activism rallies and events to garner support for the organization, which Republicans are threatening to defund. They also offered free STD testing in dozens of U.S. cities. The "Pink Out Day" events coincided with the House committee's hearing to determine whether Planned Parenthood acted illegally by allegedly selling the tissue of aborted fetuses for medical research. Missouri's decision doesn't bode well for the Republican members of Boehner's committee — Missouri is a red state, so if conservative legislators didn't find fault with Planned Parenthood's actions, then the national committee might not, either. According to Koster's report, the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri (the only one in the state that performs surgical abortions) did not engage in "unlawful disposal of fetal organs and tissue."
The Missouri investigation came after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos that allegedly depict Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has maintained that the videos were "doctored" by anti-abortion activists (which was confirmed by an independent research firm), and that the organization did nothing wrong, because it does not make a profit from its work with medical researchers.
Richards also testified at the House committee meeting Tuesday, arguing that fetal tissue research "offers the potential of lifesaving research" and "medical breakthroughs." During the committee meeting, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) said that despite the "best efforts" of anti-abortion activists, there was "no credible evidence before this committee that any Planned Parenthood employee agreed to any proposal to sell fetal tissue for profit in violation of the law." In addition to Cummings' statement, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) presented on Tuesday a petition for Congress to continue Planned Parenthood's funding — one that bore more than two million signatures.
The House committee's decision still isn't final — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) noted Tuesday that he subpoenaed the videos in question for the committee's review, but the tapes' release was delayed by a California court's injunction ruling. But if the Missouri attorney general's decision is any indication, Planned Parenthood supporters shouldn't be too worried about the organization being defunded.
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