The FBI signaled this week agents may be investigating whether Planned Parenthoodâ€™s dealings in fetal tissue were legal.
Sources told The Hill the FBIÂ has requested documentsÂ from the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained from the committeeâ€™s investigation into Planned Parenthoodâ€™s fetal tissue dealings. The investigation came after the Center for Medical ProgressÂ published a series of explosive videosÂ in 2015 revealing the abortion giant was harvesting and distributing aborted baby parts for researchers.
CMP alleges Planned Parenthood was illegally profiting from the exchange of limbs and organs, and the House and Senate launched investigations into the non-profitâ€™s practice. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI at the conclusion of that investigation, saying his committee found evidence indicating the group was profiting.Â (RELATED: See How The Research Sausage Is Made In Planned Parenthood Video)
Planned Parenthood told The Hill none of its affiliates have been in contact with the FBI.
Planned Parenthood officials discuss the cost of harvesting and distributing the tissue on some of the undercover videos, but the group maintained it was charging legal fees and not profiting from the exchange. Following the revelations, Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept any money for the exchange of aborted baby parts.
The law at issue bans anyone from profiting off the exchange of fetal tissue, but allows organizations to receiveÂ broadly definedÂ â€œreasonable paymentsâ€ that apparently make the ban meaningless in practice.
â€œDo people do stuff with eyeballs?â€ Dr. Savita Ginde, the clinicâ€™s Vice President and Medical Director, asks in one video as she pokesÂ around in a pie dish containing the tissue and fluids that resulted from an abortion.
â€œOh yeah,â€ theÂ undercover actor posing as a fetal tissue buyer responds. â€œAlthough eyeballs, they generally want more developed than this.â€
One medical ethicistÂ told The New York TimesÂ of the law in 2015: â€œIt appears to be legal, no matter how much you charge.Â Itâ€™s a very gray and musty area as to what you can charge.â€
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