January 05, 2017
The House's Select Panel on Infant Lives may have issued its final report, but some of the work is just beginning. Holding Planned Parenthood and the medical groups accountable will continue at every level, including the state and local. The baby-parts-for-profits scheme that launched a dozen criminal investigations will be front and center when the new administration comes to town, especially where Planned Parenthood's funding is concerned. After a year's worth of combing through documents and interviewing people close to the controversy, Panel Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and company released 471 pages on their findings, including a long list of recommendations.
While Democrats have blasted the GOP for wasting time on a politically-motivated "witch hunt," the Panel uncovered plenty of dark and dubious dealings between the abortion industry and fetal tissue collectors. "The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives succeeded in uncovering shameful practices, which undermined the very foundations of ethical American scientific research and have led to 15 criminal and regulatory referrals. Over the course of its year-long investigation of fetal tissue procurement companies and abortion businesses, the Select Panel found evidence that several tissue procurement companies and abortion clinics may have violated federal felony laws prohibiting the sale of human fetal tissue. As a physician and researcher, it is my sincere hope that our investigation and the subsequent referrals have put an end to these shady and unethical practices," said Congressman (and doctor) Andy Harris (R-Md.). Among other things, the group suggests that Congress:
- Pull the plug on taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood until they stop performing abortions;
- Give states some flexibility under Medicaid to redirect funds away from Planned Parenthood;
- Ban funding of fetal tissue research from induced abortions;
- Pass criminal penalties for any violations of Born Alive Infant Protection Act;
- Pass a ban on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, when babies feel pain;
- Create a criminal division at DOJ to enforce Partial Birth Abortion and Born Alive infant protections;
- Ensure that HIPPA informed consent laws are enforced against abortionists;
- Prohibit funding for research using fetal tissue from induced abortions (but allow on fetal tissue from miscarriages or stillbirths).
As pro-life champion Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) summed it up, "The Select Investigative Panel has worked hard to uncover the illegal and highly repulsive activities of the organizations involved in the sale and trafficking of baby body parts. Now it is up to the judicial system to hold the perpetrators accountable and up to Congress and the new Administration to see that these heinous acts are continued no longer. The way we treat our young, our weak, and our voiceless does matter. History will hold us accountable for these atrocities." And let's hope not just history -- but the next administration will be taking the most important step of this panel: defunding the barbarians at the center of this controversy.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.