WASHINGTON (AP) – In Planned Parenthood’s first congressional appearance since the release of undercover videos, the group’s president is defending its provision of fetal tissue for researchers and castigating Republicans for not investigating the anti-abortion activists who furtively made the recordings.
In testimony prepared for a hearing Tuesday, Cecile Richards said the organization’s donation of tissue from aborted fetuses is a “minuscule” part of its work proving health services for women. She said the group has nearly 700 clinics but obtains fetal tissue in less than 1 percent of them.
Nonetheless, she said such research has helped scientists search for cures and said, “Planned Parenthood is proud of its limited role in supporting fetal tissue research.”
Abortion opponent David Daleiden obtained the videos by posing as an executive of a fake company seeking to supply fetal tissue to researchers.
Richards said Daleiden, despite three years of doing that, didn’t entrap any Planned Parenthood officials into doing anything illegal.
“It is clear they acted fraudulently and unethically – and perhaps illegally,” Richards said. “Yet it is Planned Parenthood, not Mr. Daleiden, that is currently subject to four congressional investigations” by the GOP-run Congress.
The testimony was provided by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where Richards was set to appear Tuesday. Her prepared remarks contained little her organization has not already said since the abortion foes began releasing the videos in July.
Conservatives and some Republicans say Planned Parenthood has broken federal laws forbidding sales of fetal tissue for profit. The group has denied breaking any laws.
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