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House panel investigating Planned Parenthood reveals additional criminal referrals

House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) presides over the committee’s hearings on Planned Parenthood. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, revealed Wednesday that the panel has issued additional criminal and regulatory referrals for tissue procurement businesses and abortion clinics to federal, state, and local authorities.

Some of the 15 referrals detailed by the panel Wednesday — such as the ones against the University of New Mexico and StemExpress — have previously been made public.

The panel revealed additional referrals it has made during its year-long investigation such as abortion clinics in Arkansas and Florida.

The panel also referred “a late-term abortionist in Texas,” whose name was redacted in the publicly released referral, to the Texas attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice for a criminal investigation after former employees alleged that he would kill infants born alive in his clinics by severing their spinal cords with scissors; among other methods. A former employee also alleged that he “would regularly fail to observe proper sterilization procedures.”

Blackburn additionally alleged that StemExpress may have destroyed documents sought by the panel.

“Speaking as a woman, I am deeply troubled by what we have learned about the mistreatment of patients at a particularly difficult and vulnerable time in their lives,” Blackburn said in a statement. “They are being treated with a disregard for their best interests and their rights as patients. Women deserve better than this. They deserve better than to face any level of deception or pressure."

Blackburn also stated that the panel has uncovered illegal activity:

We have seen instances in which profit-driven procurement businesses acting in conjunction with clinics violate women's privacy rights under HIPAA. We have seen consent forms misrepresenting to women that cures for still uncured diseases have resulted from fetal tissue. It is disturbing to see so many cases where there is barely the pretense of consent or no consent at all before the remains of a baby are taken by researchers.

Democrats on the select panel have said that the investigation is a “witch-hunt” and have called for the panel to be disbanded.

A spokeswoman for the panel’s Democratic minority did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment regarding the criminal referrals.

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