Several congressional Democrats are pressing Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the group behind controversial videos depicting Planned Parenthood staff allegedly discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.
Four House Democrats – Jan Schakowsky, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler and Yvette Clarke – are asking for a probe into whether the Center for Medical Progress, a nonprofit group that opposes abortion, violated state or federal laws by pretending to work for a company to record the Planned Parenthoold executives without their permission.
“This is a new low, even for anti-abortion activists who will stop at nothing in their effort to undermine a woman’s right to choose,” Schakowsky said in a statement. “I believe the Center for Medical Progress may have broken the law in developing and executing this unbelievably elaborate and troubling scheme, and all Americans should have concerns about that.”
The videos are reviving the debate over abortion as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. Republicans are seizing on them to press for defunding Planned Parenthood, which receives federal money for a wide range of women’s health needs but not abortion. On Capitol Hill, GOP leaders have called for investigations of their own.
David Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Progress, said the videos prove that Planned Parenthood is breaking the law in how they perform abortions.
“Planned Parenthood’s only denial is that they make money off of baby parts, but that is a desperate lie that becomes more and more untenable as CMP reveals Planned Parenthood’s business operations and statements that prove otherwise,” he said.
Planned Parenthood said this week they expect more videos to be released.
“These videos are part of a decade-long campaign of deceiving the public, making false charges, and terrorizing women and their doctors, all in order to ban abortion and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood,” said Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood vice president of communications.
Democrats also expressed concern about whether the Center for Medical Progress coordinated with the Republican lawmakers calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood. Some of the Republicans calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood said they’d seen the video as early as a month in advance.
Since the first video’s release, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents and called for congressional hearings on the incident, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so. When an organization monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act,” Boehner said.