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Activists say Planned Parenthood investigation 'is a major turning point

Pro-life activists hold a rally in 2015 opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. According to Fox News, the Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood was trafficking aborted fetal body parts. (2015 file photo/Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

Pro-life activists said that a Department of Justice investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices marks “a major turning point” for allegations that the nation’s largest abortion provider profited from the sale of aborted fetal body parts.

What happened?

According to Fox News, the Justice Department launched a federal investigation into allegations raised by a series of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress that Planned Parenthood was trafficking aborted fetal body parts. Profiting from the sale of human body parts — including those of the unborn — is illegal in the United States. Planned Parenthood denied illegal conduct.

The House Select Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee both investigated the allegations and made criminal referrals.

According to Fox News, Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd formally requested unredacted documents obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee during its investigation.

“The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available,” Boyd wrote in a letter to the committee.

What did activists say?

Pro-life activists celebrated the news as a victory for their cause. Many organizations have sought a federal investigation since the Center for Medical Progress released its first video in July 2015.

In a statement, David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress and the filmmaker behind the videos, said, “Over two years ago, citizen journalists at The Center for Medical Progress first caught Planned Parenthood’s top abortion doctors in a series of undercover videos callously and flippantly negotiating the sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains.”

“Since then, two Congressional investigations found even deeper wrongdoing and confirmed that Planned Parenthood Federation of America, several of their biggest affiliates, and multiple business partners broke the law in a profit-driven scheme to commodify dismembered baby body parts,” Daleiden continued. “It is time for public officials to finally hold Planned Parenthood and their criminal abortion enterprise accountable under the law.”

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement that the investigation “is a major turning point in the battle to hold the nation’s largest abortion business accountable.”

“Evidence shows Planned Parenthood sought to squeeze every last opportunity for cash from the sale of hearts, brains, lungs, and livers of aborted children,” she continued. “This abortion chain has for too long enjoyed government favor under the Obama Administration. That ends now. We thank the Trump administration and DOJ for taking decisive action to launch a formal investigation.”

Dannenfelser added the investigation will “underscore the urgent need to redirect half a billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding away from the abortion giant and we hope to see Congress to deliver on this core promise soon.”

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager turned founder of the pro-life organization, And Then There Were None, said in a statement the investigation “is long-awaited, good news.”

“Planned Parenthood has actively participated in illegal activity, selling the body parts of aborted babies in exchange for profit,” Johnson said. “They’ve lied to the very women they purport to fight for. I saw it first-hand when I worked for the abortion giant and yet, they still manage to obtain over half a billion dollars a year in our tax dollars. Congress should immediately halt any money to the abortion giant until the FBI completes their investigation.”

Lila Rose, the founder and president of Live Action, praised the investigation on Twitter, writing that "Planned Parenthood’s barbaric trading of the body parts of aborted children is one of America's greatest national shames."

What did Planned Parenthood say?

In a statement, Dana Singiser, vice president of government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the allegations "are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood."

"Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research," Singiser said, adding that the videos were released "by anti-abortion extremists" and were "deceptively edited."

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