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Judiciary Committee begins hearings on Planned Parenthood

F (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

F (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Congress just recently came back in session, but members of the Judiciary Committee went right back to work. On Wednesday morning, the committee’s hearings on Planned Parenthood began. The abortion provider is being investigated following investigative videos alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from the sale of fetal parts.

C-SPAN provided a video and transcript of the day’s event. Speakers included:

  • James Bopp Jr., General Counsel for National Right to Life Committee
  • Gianna Jessen, Late-term abortion survivor
  • Melissa Ohden, Late-term abortion survivor and founder of Abortion Survivors Network
  • Priscilla J. Smith, Director and Senior Fellow at Yale Law School Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice

The opening of Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) expressed a pro-life sentiment. In part the statement read:

Any discussion of abortion is inherently difficult, as it is unquestionably the taking of a human life.  That discussion becomes even more difficult when it turns to the monetary value of the body parts of more developed unborn children — and to the prospect of exposing them to potentially more painful abortions, conducted in different ways, without the mother’s consent, to preserve the added value of their more fully developed body parts.  Yet these videos force us all to engage in that discussion, one that this committee has been engaged in for some time now, and which now begins its phase of public hearings.

There are questions regarding whether there are gaps in the law that should be filled to prevent the types of horrors described in the videos.  There are questions regarding whether or not existing federal laws have been violated.  The Committee is aggressively seeking answers to these questions, but there is no question that the videos are deeply disturbing on a human level.

During his testimony, Bopp explained federal law with regards to the use fetal parts for research. He suggested that Planned Parenthood broke such a law. He also addressed how Planned Parenthood modified their abortion procedure by using “an alternate method entailing greater risk to the pregnant women.” Bopp made a recommendation when he mentioned that “while it is not clear from the videos whether or not Planned Parenthood kills babies born alive after an induced abortion to harvest fetal tissue, this is an area that needs further investigation.”

Jessen and Ohden shared in their testimony how they survived their late-term abortions. Both women also spoke out against Planned Parenthood and their abortion procedures.

Smith defended the use of fetal tissue research, with her claim that it “has provided innumerable medical benefits and has saved lives.” With regards to funding for Planned Parenthood she answered that “funding Planned Parenthood and the services it provides is equal to feeding children because what Planned Parenthood does is preserve women’s lives that are the mothers of those children.”

Yesterday’s hearing was the first part of more to come.

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