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Committee Expands Planned Parenthood Investigation

Aug 7, 2015
On the Heels of Additional “Abhorrent” Videos, E&C Leaders Request More Information, Briefings from Key Individuals and Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent letters to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), Novogenix Laboratories, and StemExpress requesting briefings and information regarding each organization’s practices relating to human fetal tissue collection, sale, and/or donation. These letters build on the committee’s investigation into the shocking Planned Parenthood videos released in recent weeks.

The letters were signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and full committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX).

In the letter to Planned Parenthood, committee leaders are seeking informal interviews with Dr. Mary Gatter, president of PPFA’s Medical Director’s Council, Ms. Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and Savita Ginde, M.D., vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. The leaders write, “As you know, in several recent videotapes made public, these individuals have made statements concerning the manner in which fetal tissue is procured. We are examining whether these statements accurately reflect PPFA’s position on the acquisition and disposition of fetal tissue, and whether their statements, if accurate, are consistent with existing laws.”

The leaders also requested Planned Parenthood to, “(I)dentify the appropriate representatives from PPFA affiliates, other than those referenced above, who are currently engaged in the donation and disposition of fetal tissue.”

In the letters to ABR, Novogenix Laboratories, and StemExpress, the committee leaders outline six questions seeking information:

  1. Your organization’s procedures to assure proper informed consent for fetal tissue donation.
  2. Your organization’s practices for collecting fetal tissue, including guidance to, and training for, agents or representatives involved in the acquisition of fetal tissue.
  3. Your organization’s practices and/or policies relating to the quality or quality control of fetal tissue, and how your organization decides what types of fetal tissue to collect.
  4. The prices or fees that ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress pays for each type of fetal tissue, and how much ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress paid in 2014 for fetal tissue.
  5. The prices or fees that ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress sets for each type of fetal tissue provided to researchers, including what guidance or criteria, if any, ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress provides to researchers on prices and fees, and the total amount of fees collected and costs expended by ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress relating to fetal tissue.
  6. The number of years ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress has engaged in fetal tissue collection and whether and how ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress assures that the collection, sale and/or donation of fetal tissue is in compliance with federal and state legal requirements, or is in accordance with rules made by ethics boards by institutions buying fetal tissue from ABR/Novogenix/StemExpress. 

    In the letter to ABR, the committee leaders posed one additional request:

  7. For the last ten years, any contracts and/or other arrangements with the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and/or any other Federal government agency or department, including date(s) of each contract, amount(s) of each contract, and nature of deliverables or services.

To read the letters online, click HERE.