Republicans in the House of Delegates are calling on Governor Terry McAuliffe for an investigation into Planned Parenthood chapters in Virginia following an undercover video released by an anti-abortion group earlier this week.
House Republicans want the governor to look into the chapters' practices to ensure they are operating legally, following the video released Tuesday which alleges Planned Parenthood officials discussed selling body parts from aborted fetuses.
"The practices described in news reports and discussed in that video are horrific and should be universally condemned, regardless of one’s personal views on abortion,” said House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford). “Governor McAuliffe should immediately direct the appropriate state agencies to conduct a comprehensive investigation into Virginia’s Planned Parenthood chapters to determine if any of these practices have happened in the Commonwealth and if Planned Parenthood is following all state laws, regulations and reporting requirements."
The governor's office responded to the request with a vote of confidence for current regulations and inspections.
"Governor McAuliffe was disturbed by the content of the video in question, but does not believe it should be fodder for political attacks on women’s access to health care," said Brian Coy at the Governor's Office. "Every Virginia women’s health center is licensed and regulated by the Virginia Department of Health and subject to regular and thorough inspections to ensure that they are in full compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations. The Governor is confident that any violation of those laws and regulations will be reported and appropriate action taken."
According to a news release from the Center for Medical Progress, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, admitted to supplying intact body parts by using partial-birth abortions.
"Every human life is precious and the General Assembly has taken specific steps to protect innocent life, including specifically prohibiting partial-birth and late-term abortions,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “In the wake of this video, an investigation into Planned Parenthood is necessary to ensure those laws are being followed and the practices discussed in that video are not happening in Virginia."
In the video, shot in July 2014, actors claimed to pose as buyers from a human biologics company and secretly recorded Nucatola during a business lunch in California.
Eric Ferrero, vice president of communication for PPFA, said in a statement that the allegations made in the video were untrue. He said patients sometimes decide to donate to research, and health centers help them do that under "the highest ethical and legal standards."
Three Congressional committees have pledged to investigate. The House Energy and commerce committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee will look into the issue, according to the Associated Press.
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