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Sessions and Shelby Join Letter Calling on Administration to Investigate Planned Parenthood Scandal

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, July 22 U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby joined with many of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell demanding an investigation into the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, after the release of two graphic videos of senior Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the practice of harvesting and selling organs from aborted babies.  A separate letter was sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking that the Department of Justice open an investigation.

Senator Richard Shelby (R from Alabama) wrote in a statement, “Today, I joined 49 of my colleagues in signing a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell addressing the video revealing senior Planned Parenthood executives discussing the organization’s gruesome practices.  In the letter, my colleagues and I question the ethical and legal issues raised by the video footage and urge Secretary Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these matters.”

Sens. Sessions, Shelby, et al wrote in the letter to Sec. Burwell: “We are deeply disturbed by recent footage released by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in graphic detail the organization’s practice of harvesting the organs of unborn babies.”

The Senators wrote; “The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions.  In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy – sometimes even later than 5 months – that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested.”

The conservative Alabama Senators and their colleagues wrote, “Congress is undertaking efforts to address these questions, and we expect the Department of Health and Human Services to fully cooperate with ensuing investigations – including future requests for information and hearing participation. To that end, we further expect the immediate preservation of any and all Department electronic and paper records that could have any relevance to any ongoing or forthcoming lawful investigation.”

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The Sens. Letter concludes: “It is our understanding that, to date, you have refrained from commenting on the questions raised by the footage until you can review the matter further. We appreciate your acknowledgement that this matter requires further examination, and upon your receipt of this letter, we request that you confirm in writing that you have either commenced or will immediately initiate a thorough internal review of the compliance of the Department and Planned Parenthood – one of the Department’s grantees – with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements. Please also include a description of the expected scope of the internal review, as well as an estimated completion date.”  “We look forward to future correspondence on this matter, and we hope that we can count on you as a key partner in our efforts to address the various legal, ethical, and policy concerns raised by the information contained in the footage.”

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The letter was signed by: Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator John Barrasso, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator John Boozman, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Dan Coats, Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Bob Corker, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Mike Enzi, Senator Joni Ernst, Senator Deb Fischer, Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator John Hoeven, Senator Jim Inhofe, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Ron Johnson, Senator James Lankford, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator John McCain, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Jerry Moran, Senator Rand Paul, Senator David Perdue, Senator Rob Portman, Senator James Risch, Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Mike Rounds, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Tim Scott, Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Dan Sullivan, Senator John Thune, Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Pat Toomey, Senator David Vitter, and Senator Roger Wicker.

The latest undercover video apparently shows Dr. Mary Gatter, president of the Medical Directors Council of PPFA telling two undercover investigators how much money she wants for selling fetal organs to researchers. Dr. Gatter discusses a potential contract between the simulated vendor and Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley [California], where she is the medical director.

National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias said in a statement on Tuesday, “Another discussion, over lunch, of dismembering unborn children to harvest their body parts once again demonstrates the callousness and heartlessness of Planned Parenthood toward unborn children.  The conversation enters the realm of utter depravity when the Planned Parenthood doctor says she will explore ‘using a less crunchy technique to get more whole specimens.’ Dr. Gatter also expresses concern that the payments must ‘be big enough that it is worthwhile,’ and laughingly adds, ‘I want a Lamborghini.’  Women who have been exploited by Planned Parenthood and who now see this video are unlikely to be laughing with her.”

The NRLC said that the newest video once again highlights the need for legislation such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

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