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Judiciary Committee Wants DOJ Information About Fetal Body Parts Trafficking

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Constitution and Civil Justice subcommittee chairman Trent Franks (R-AZ) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide information on prior investigations into fetal body parts trafficking.

The letter to Lynch is part of the Judiciary Committee’s continued investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood in the wake of the release of undercover investigative videos exposing the nation’s largest abortion provider engaging in the harvesting of body parts of aborted babies for potential sale to biomedical companies.

Goodlatte earlier sent a letter to Lynch demanding investigation by DOJ into potential violations of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act by Planned Parenthood.

“[P]lease provide a summary of all actions your Department has taken to ensure compliance with the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act,” the letter said. “Further, we urge you to act swiftly to launch an investigation into any potential violations of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of which your Department has become aware, or does become aware, including potential violations by Planned Parenthood.”

According to a press release from the House Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte has now called on Lynch to evaluate three federal laws that may be implicated by the Planned Parenthood videos.

The letter sent Monday states:

At least three federal laws may be implicated by this video: 42 U.S.C. § 274e, which states that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce”; 42 U.S.C. § 289g, which states that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce”; and 18 U.S.C. § 1531, which prohibits partial-birth abortions.

We write regarding our interest in understanding the history of the enforcement of these laws at the Department of Justice. Please provide the Committee with a copy of the complaint in every case filed by the Department in which a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 274e, 42 U.S.C. § 289g, or 18 U.S.C. § 1531, and any related federal laws, is alleged.

In late July, 135 House Republicans, led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) sent a formal request to Lynch, demanding an immediate investigation by the DOJ into Planned Parenthood’s practices regarding the harvesting of aborted baby parts.

On August 6, Peter J. Kadzik, assistant Attorney General replied:

In your letter, you provided the Department of Justice (the Department) with a description about a video that recently surfaced in the media, and you raised concerns about whether the actions of abortion providers are consistent with federal law. You requested that the Department conduct a full investigation to determine whether violations of the Public Health Service Act have occurred, based on the video’s content.

Under the Public Health Service Act, the department can investigate complaints concerning any person who knowingly acquires, receives, or otherwise transfers any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce. We are aware of the matter, and the Department is reviewing all information we have received on the subject. We will determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time.

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