Planned Parenthood Stops Fetal Tissue Transactions
Planned Parenthood will no longer accept money for fetal tissue donations, even though it will continue to harvest fetal tissue at several clinics to make available for research.
Cecile Richards, the group's president, outlined the new policy in a letter sent to Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health.
The policy change was an effort to "take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda," she explained.
The Center for Medical Progress recently released a series of undercover videoes highlighting Planned Parenthood's practice of selling baby body parts for a profit.
"Planned Parenthood's policies on fetal tissue donation already exceed the legal requirements," Richards wrote. "Now we're going even further in order to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda."
Republicans have launched several investigations into Planned Parenthood, along with efforts to cut off the organization's federal funding.
Rep. Diane Black, a registered nurse and author of the House-passed Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, said this policy change was motivated by optics rather than Planned Parenthood's conscience.
"If Planned Parenthood truly wanted to confront its growing scandal, it would stop aborting more than 327,000 innocent lives each year and fully commit to true women's health care," Black said.
While selling fetal tissue for profit is illegal, a 1993 law passed by Congress with bipartisan support allows women who undergo abortions to donate fetal tissue for use in scientific research.
The law allowed entities supplying the tissue to recover the costs of running such programs.
Planned Parenthood says its fetal tissue programs currently take place in only two states - California and Washington - at about a half-dozen of the 700 health centers run by the organization nationwide.
Planned Parenthood's executive vice president Dawn Laguens said the Washington state affiliate already had a policy of accepting no reimbursement for its costs. The California affiliate will now follow the same policy.