The Department of Health and Human Services found no violations of fetal tissue laws when it comes to tissue obtained from nonprofits, joining a series of state investigations that have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing in response to CMP's deceptively-edited videos attempting to smear the women's health organization.
According to an August 16 report from Politico, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found no violations of fetal tissue laws “among government researchers or the companies that supply the tissue” to them. In a letter to Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the assistant secretary for legislation at HHS explained that they found “no violation of these laws in connection with research done at our agencies.” Although "[v]ery little federal research is done with fetal tissue," the investigation was nonetheless sparked by the Center for Medical Progress' string of deceptively-edited videos attempting to smear Planned Parenthood:
The Obama administration says there are no known violations of the country's fetal tissue laws among government researchers or the companies that supply the tissue.
“Currently, we know of no violation of these laws in connection with the research done at our agencies,” Jim Esquea, assistant secretary for legislation at HHS, wrote in a letter to Sens. Joni Ernst and Roy Blunt, obtained by POLITICO. "Furthermore ... we have confirmed that HHS researchers working with fetal tissue obtained the tissue from non-profit organizations that provided assurances to us that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.
Very little federal research is done with fetal tissue, but it has come under scrutiny since an anti-abortion group earlier this summer began releasing undercover videos alleging that Planned Parenthood was trafficking in fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood has denied that, saying it facilitates legal tissue donation at a few of its locations.
HHS is just the latest organization in a series of states that have found no evidence of wrongdoing when it comes to fetal tissue donation. After investigations sparked by the series of undercover videos attempting to smear Planned Parenthood, probes in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have found “Planned Parenthood affiliates to be in full compliance with the law,” according to the Huffington Post. As the Post went on to explain, “Probes in other states, like Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, are unlikely to reveal evidence of illegal tissue donation practices, since those states' Planned Parenthood centers either don't participate in a tissue donation program, don't even have a center actively performing abortions in the state or are barred by state law from donating tissues in the first place. ”
These findings continue to underscore the flimsy nature of the Center for Medical Progress' false allegations that Planned Parenthood is “selling aborted baby parts” -- a claim that has been repeatedly called out and debunked by the media who point out that the videos show nothing more than officials discussing the legal reimbursement associated with tissue donation.