Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Paul, MN
Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue (CC-By-2.0)
Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Paul, MNPhoto credit: Fibonacci Blue (CC-By-2.0)
Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Paul, MN
Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue (CC-By-2.0)

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of 49 of her fellow senators today in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell following the release of footage by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in gruesome detail the organization’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies. In the letter, the senators draw attention to the legal, ethical, and policy issues raised by the footage and call on HHS Secretary Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these questions.

“The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions,” the senators wrote. “In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy – sometimes even later than 5 months – that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested.”

The senators also requested that the Secretary confirm the commencement or immediate initiation of “a thorough internal review of the compliance of the Department and Planned Parenthood – one of the Department’s grantees – with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.”

Senator Joni Ernst also added in a statement, “This footage is morally reprehensible, vile, and raises a number of questions that taxpayers deserve answers to. Today, my colleagues and I are calling on HHS to cooperate with all current and future investigations into these shocking allegations. As a defender of life, I remain committed to getting these answers because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.”

The full text of the senators’ letter can be found here.

The complete list of the 50 senators who signed the letter is as follows:

  • Senator Lamar Alexander
  • Senator Kelly Ayotte
  • Senator John Barrasso
  • Senator Roy Blunt
  • Senator John Boozman
  • Senator Richard Burr
  • Senator Shelley Moore Capito
  • Senator Bill Cassidy
  • Senator Dan Coats
  • Senator Thad Cochran
  • Senator Bob Corker
  • Senator John Cornyn
  • Senator Tom Cotton
  • Senator Mike Crapo
  • Senator Ted Cruz
  • Senator Steve Daines
  • Senator Mike Enzi
  • Senator Joni Ernst
  • Senator Deb Fischer
  • Senator Jeff Flake
  • Senator Cory Gardner
  • Senator Lindsey Graham
  • Senator Orrin Hatch
  • Senator John Hoeven
  • Senator Jim Inhofe
  • Senator Johnny Isakson
  • Senator Ron Johnson
  • Senator James Lankford
  • Senator Mike Lee
  • Senator Joe Manchin
  • Senator John McCain
  • Senator Mitch McConnell
  • Senator Jerry Moran
  • Senator Rand Paul
  • Senator David Perdue
  • Senator Rob Portman
  • Senator James Risch
  • Senator Pat Roberts
  • Senator Mike Rounds
  • Senator Marco Rubio
  • Senator Ben Sasse
  • Senator Tim Scott
  • Senator Jeff Sessions
  • Senator Richard Shelby
  • Senator Dan Sullivan
  • Senator John Thune
  • Senator Thom Tillis
  • Senator Pat Toomey
  • Senator David Vitter
  • Senator Roger Wicker
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