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HHS Inspector General to Investigate Fetal Tissue Research

Watchdog launches probe in wake of Planned Parenthood videos

Planned Parenthood rally
Planned Parenthood rally / AP
• December 22, 2015 5:05 pm

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The Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general is launching an investigation into the federal government’s oversight of fetal tissue research following a series of undercover videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal parts.

The Hill reported that the investigation was spurred by Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), a presidential candidate, and 34 other Republican senators who requested the inspector general launch an investigation.

On Tuesday, Paul published a letter dated Dec. 4 from Daniel Levinson, the HHS inspector general, disclosing the investigation.

"We will interview HHS and National Institutes of Health (NIH) officials, as the majority of HHS funding for human fetal tissue research is awarded through NIH. This approach will also focus on gathering relevant documentation related to policies and procedures for monitoring fetal tissue research activities," Levinson outlined in the letter.

"Our goal is to obtain information related to fetal tissue research grants, NIH’s monitoring procedures over third-party certifications and those related to the Department’s internal fetal tissue research, and any known violations of federal requirements."

Paul and his colleagues penned an Oct. 6 letter to the department’s office of inspector general requesting an audit into "all fetal tissue research support by HHS, specifically examining the department’s oversight of contractor and grantee compliance with the laws governing fetal tissue research."

The letter followed a series of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life, non-profit organization, that showed officials at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, candidly discussing the sale of organs from aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in federal funding each year. The videos raised concerns that Planned Parenthood has illegally profited from selling tissue from aborted babies for research.

Planned Parenthood will not directly be investigated by the inspector general because the organization does not conduct fetal tissue research.

"I am encouraged to see the inspector general take action to investigate Planned Parenthood’s unconscionable practices. Planned Parenthood selling body parts of the unborn demonstrates that the organization deserves not one penny more of our taxpayer dollars, and I am confident this investigation will give further proof of that," Paul said in a statement Tuesday.

Published under: Abortion