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COLUMN: End Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood

August 10, 2015
Weekly Column and Op-Ed
By Rep. Dan Newhouse

What is a human life worth? The way a society responds to that question effectively describes the values held by that society. A just and healthy society should view innocent life as worth dignity and protection. The prospect of profiting off of another human’s life is repulsive because each person possesses an intrinsic moral value, not a commercial value.

Horrifyingly, there are some today who actually place a dollar amount on the tissue and organs of unborn humans.

The callous language used by Planned Parenthood officials in recently released undercover videos to negotiate the dollar amount for harvested fetal organs has placed the practices of the nation’s largest abortion provider in the spotlight. The videos have raised allegations that Planned Parenthood may profit from the aborting of unborn children through the sale of fetal body parts to fetal tissue brokers.

Between bites of salad and a glass of wine, a senior Planned Parenthood doctor is seen in one video describing abortion techniques that destroy the unborn child, but in such a way as to preserve fetal organs, even changing the medical techniques used without patient consent. In another video, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director’s Council haggles over compensation for fetal tissue procured through abortions. The comments of these Planned Parenthood officials raise questions that demand to be answered.

Under federal law, it is unlawful for anyone to “knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” Violation could lead to a fine and up to ten years in prison. Altering an abortion procedure in order to preserve certain fetal tissue for donation also violates federal patient consent laws.

Like so many Americans, I find the activity described in the videos not just deeply disturbing, but also potentially criminal. Federal law enforcement and Congressional investigations must get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood’s practices. I am committed to doing all I can to protect the unborn and put a stop to this heinous conduct.

Planned Parenthood received more than $500 million in government funding in its last fiscal year. No taxpayer should be forced to subsidize the nation’s largest provider of abortions or support the unjust taking of an unborn life.

After seeing the undercover videos, I cosponsored H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I have also cosponsored H.R. 217, the Title X Provider Prohibition Act, which would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services from providing federal “family planning” assistance to any entity that fails to certify that they will not perform abortions nor provide funds to any other entity that performs abortions.

I have also requested that the Department of Justice conduct an immediate investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood regarding the sale of fetal body parts as well as possible criminal violations, and the involvement of taxpayer subsidies.

Thomas Jefferson once said that, “the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” The lives of unborn children deserve protection, and justice now demands answers.