The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has asked Planned Parenthood to make Dr. Deborah Nucatola–the group’s medical director who was seen in the sting video released earlier this week–available to brief committee members before the end of July.
The letter reads:
Given your statement that this video falsely portrays Planned Parenthood and the questions raised by the video, we respectfully request that Dr. Nucatola provide a briefing to committee staff no later than July 31, 2015, to explain specifically the context and meaning of her statements on the video.
The letter then lists five distinct questions or areas of investigation. The second of these has to do with Planned Parenthood’s “practices for collecting fetal tissue.” The letter also asks Planned Parenthood to retain all documents related to fetal tissue donations.
The significance of this particular line of questioning becomes obvious when considering a second letter the committee sent out Friday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. After quoting several passages from the video, the letter to AG Lynch states, “The references to the process of breech conversion and the interpretation of intent raise serious questions about whether abortionists and particularly abortionists in the Planned Parenthood organization are complying with the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.”
Skirting the partial-birth abortion ban is one of the possible illegalities raised in the sting video itself. The letter to AG Lynch concludes, “We urge you to act swiftly to launch an investigation into any potential violations of the Partial-Birth Abortion Act.”
In addition to the House investigation, state officials in Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, and Lousiana have announced plans to investigate Planned Parenthood.
Thursday the group’s President, Cecile Richards, put out a two-minute video in which she denied any wrongdoing but apologized for the tone of statements made by Dr. Nucatola. Dr. Nucatola was “reprimanded” for her remarks but, despite the firestorm they caused, she has not been fired.
The letter to Planned Parenthood was signed by 15 Republican members of the Energy and Commerce committee.