The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference said in a statement July 21 that state officials should conduct an investigation into Planned Parenthood.
The organization provides more than half of the abortions performed in Pennsylvania each year, according to the conference, which is the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops.
The conference also encouraged Catholics to contact their elected officials and ask for the investigation.
A video created by the Center for Medical Progress dated July 25, 2014 but only released July 14, shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Services Department, graphically explaining how abortions can be conducted in a way that preserves a fetus’ organs for medical research as well as the costs for selling the organs.
A second video was released July 21 showing Mary Gatter, a former president of the organization’s Medical Directors Council and a current executive, discussing the same issue.
Federal law prohibits the selling of body parts from abortions.
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Planned Parenthood denies profiting from the harvesting of organs, instead asserting that the organs are donated for scientific research and that the money discussed in the videos is to reimburse for associated costs.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood decried both videos as “heavily edited” and the producer “intended to twist (their) meaning and support false claims.”
It added that Nucatola in the first video denied violating the law on the sale of fetal body parts “at least 10 separate times,” but the denials were edited out of the video “in order to mislead the public.”
In Pennsylvania, two influential officials asked state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood in conjunction with three other relevant state departments.
Senator Joe Scarnati (R), president pro tem of the Senate , and Rep. Mike Turzai (R), speaker of the House, wrote a letter to Kane July 17 citing federal law, and the state’s Abortion Control Act, as prohibiting the sale of fetal organs or tissue.
The Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives announced it will investigate Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos. The committee includes subcommittee chairs Reps. Joe Pitts (R) of Chester County and Tim Murphy (R) of western Pennsylvania.
Two other congressmen, including New Jersey Republican Christopher Smith, last week announced their intentions to do the same.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he would investigate the organization in his state.