(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) – The videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing, over dinner, the selling of fetal tissue for profit have caused a lot of controversy. Now, a delegation from Utah is calling for an investigation into the organization.
The most recent video is one of two and was released on Tuesday. In it, Dr. Mary Gatter, a Planned Parenthood official in California, is seen on a edited video discussing the organizations donating program. In the video she repeatedly states that her group is not in it for the money.
Nevertheless, the videos have caused quite a stir and now Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) along with 49 senators are calling for an investigation. Today, in a letter to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the delegation asks for the departments full cooperating with the ensuing investigation.
“I think it’s horrible, it’s terrible, and we gotta put a stop to it. Above all, I hope we can put together enough votes to cut back the federal payments to Planned Parenthood,” said Senator Hatch.
Around 50,000 patients rely on Planned Parenthood services, and House Minority Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Utah) who has also served as President of the Board for Planned Parenthood states defunding the organization would do a de-service to Utah, especially for women in rural areas.
“I think it’s important that we continue to have Planned Parenthood around so that we can provide low cost reproductive and primary care services for women and their families especially in a state like Utah which has refused the Medicaid expansion. We need Planned Parenthood especially in our communities and low income communities more than ever,” said Chavez-Houck.
She strongly states that Planned Parenthood does not profit from the process of selling fetal tissue but, rather for reimbursement rates of providing the tissue.
“Fetal tissue appropriation, where how they take the fetal tissue needs to be handled in a sensitive and appropriate way and I know, and I trust – given the many years that Planned Parenthood has done this type of work – in terms of research and providing good services, it was done in an appropriate manner.”
Still, the videos aren’t setting well with legislators. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has called the situation tragic and called for the investigation to go forward.
“This is reprehensible.” he said. “And something needs to be done on this. That’s why I submitted this letter calling for an investigation and that’s why I’ll be part on an effort to withhold funds from that organization while we investigate. The American people deserve better than this.”
Planned Parenthood of Utah also released a statement early this afternoon condemning the video stating:
“There is nothing in these videos that suggest any violation of law. These tapes are heavily doctored, and the full tapes show that charges that Planned Parenthood profits from women’s decisions to donate fetal tissue are false and outrageous.”
They also state the claims are false and are being used to advance a political agenda to ban abortions and defund Planned Parenthood.