The FBI has indicated it may be responding to criminal referrals of Planned Parenthood by the Senate Judiciary Committee by requesting from the committee the unredacted documents from abortion providers.
According to the Hill, the request from the FBI was made recently. The Justice Department typically does not confirm or deny an investigation, but sources for the Hill state Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is working to comply with the FBI’s request for documents.
Breitbart News reported at the end of September the FBI’s assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs had sent a letter to Grassley, informing him the agency was in receipt of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referrals of Planned Parenthood and its partners in the fetal tissue procurement industry.
“We can confirm the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of FBI Headquarters received your referrals and sent them to the relevant FBI field offices for review and whatever action is deemed appropriate,” the FBI’s Gregory Brower wrote to Grassley in June.
In his correspondence, Brower apologized to Grassley “for the delay in responding to your inquiry” and indicated receipt of the chairman’s letter, dated April 24, to both former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “concerning criminal referrals you made on December 13, 2016, to the FBI and Department of Justice.”
Breitbart News contacted the FBI’s National Press Office and the Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento FBI field offices in September.
The agency’s National Press Office sent the following statement in response: “We don’t have anything to add to the letter sent to a member of Congress. In keeping with our usual practice we have no comment on whether or not we’re conducting a particular investigation.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives both conducted expansive investigations into Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical procurement industry. The investigations concerned allegations of profiteering from the sale of fetal tissue that arose from an undercover video series exposé by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
David Daleiden, founder and project lead at CMP said in a statement an FBI investigation of Planned Parenthood is “long overdue” since “Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts is the the greatest atrocity of our times.”
The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).
The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
Grassley wrote to Sessions and Comey in April:
I am writing to inquire about the actions the Department of Justice and the FBI have taken in response to criminal referrals I made late last year. After a lengthy and detailed investigation by the Committee into paid fetal tissue transfers, I wrote to Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey on December 13, 2017, to refer eight organizations for investigation and potential prosecution for violations of the law that bans the buying or selling of human fetal tissue, 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, and the criminal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371.
The organizations referred were:
- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America;
- Planned Parenthood Mar Monte;
- Planned Parenthood Los Angeles;
- Planned Parenthood Northern California;
- Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest;
- StemExpress, LLC;
- Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; and
- Novogenix Laboratories, LLC.
Grassley concluded his letter by asking Sessions and Comey for “written confirmation by May 8, 2017, that the relevant Justice Department and FBI personnel have reviewed or will review the referral and report in full in order.”
Based on its findings, the Judiciary Committee’s Majority Staff Report concluded that Planned Parenthood’s partners in the biomedical procurement industry paid the abortion chain’s affiliates for the body parts of aborted babies “and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.”
The report continued:
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) initially had a policy in place to ensure its affiliates were complying with the law, but the affiliates failed to follow its fetal tissue reimbursement policy. When PPFA learned in 2011 of this situation, PPFA cancelled the policy rather than exercise oversight to bring the affiliates back into compliance. Thus, PPFA not only turned a blind eye to the affiliates’ violations of its fetal tissue policy, but also altered its own oversight procedures enabling those affiliates’ practices to continue unimpeded.
Vice President of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dana Singiser, said, according to the Hill.
Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong. These accusations 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.
Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, however, said in a statement:
In the summer of 2015 our nation was shocked and appalled to learn that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting the little heart, lungs and livers of babies who lost their lives through abortion after the Center for Medical Progress released their undercover videos. In the months following, Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, continued to repeat false talking points about these videos despite forensic analysis showing the contrary. Today’s move by the FBI gives us hope that justice will be served for the millions of Americans who have fallen victim to the deceptive and exploitive practices of the abortion industry.
Similarly, Catherine Glenn Foster, CEO and President of Americans United for Life, said her organization is “encouraged to see signs of an investigation moving forward.”
“There is a great deal of evidence showing the abortion industry has skirted both state and federal laws that serve as the bare-minimum protection for the dignity of human life,” Foster said. “The AUL team has documented the extensive history of Planned Parenthood’s financial and medical abuses in numerous reports. Only a thorough investigation by the Justice Department will ensure that women and their unborn children are protected from the dangerous motivations behind this criminal conduct.”