Planned Parenthood no longer collecting reimbursement for fetal tissue

Story highlights

  • Planned Parenthood will no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue used for research
  • The group's president wrote in a letter Tuesday that she hoped the move would end the firestorm sparked by the release of undercover videos

Washington (CNN)Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday that it would no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue used for research, a move the group's president hopes will extinguish the firestorm sparked by the release of edited, undercover videos this summer.

"In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using -- and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks -- our federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards wrote in a letter Tuesday to Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health.
"That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses -- even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law," Richards continued. "Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law."
    The release of videos compiled by the conservative Center for Medical Progress this summer sparked an uproar that refocused much of the national debate on Planned Parenthood's distribution of fetal tissue to researchers.
    Conservatives and Republican presidential candidates have accused the group of selling the fetal tissue for profit -- which is against the law -- but Richards and other Planned Parenthood leaders have consistently said they were only collecting a reimbursement for the procedures and not benefiting.
    The videos spurred House Republicans last week to create a special committee dedicated to investigating Planned Parenthood and abortion practices more broadly. The establishment of the special committee followed just a week after Richards was pulled before the House oversight panel for more than four hours of grilling last month.