50 U.S. Senators Pressure Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to Initiate Investigation into Planned Parenthood

Republican senatorial candidate State Sen. Joni Ernst, speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition fall fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa.
AP/Justin Hayworth
Washington, DC

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) – leading a group of 50 senators – wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell drawing attention to the legal, ethical and policy issues that were raised by the recent videos by Center for Medical Progress depicting Planned Parenthood officials talking about the mutilation and sale of aborted baby body parts.

The senators are calling on Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these issues regarding Planned Parenthood raised by the undercover videos.

“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,” the senators stated in the letter.

“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.”

In the letter, the senators requested Burwell confirm the commencement of “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.”

Ernst added: “This footage is morally reprehensible, vile, and raises a number of questions that taxpayers deserve answers to. Today, my colleagues and I are calling on HHS to cooperate with all current and future investigations into these shocking allegations. As a defender of life, I remain committed to getting these answers because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.”

The list of senators who joined in on the letter to Burwell can be viewed here.