AG Chris Koster launches investigation into Planned Parenthood
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced an investigation Tuesday into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri violated state law.
Koster's investigation comes a week after the release of undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood staff member discussing the conveying of fetal body parts.
The video shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), talking about the conveying of fetal tissue. In the heavily-edited eight minute video, Nucatola discusses prices with people posing as representatives of a "fetal tissue procurement company". The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-abortion group which shot the video, claims PPFA illegally profits from such transfers.
Planned Parenthood denies that claim and said the edited eight-minute video twists and distorts what is said in the full two hour and forty two minute raw video. The group said the costs discussed in the video are typical of legal fetal tissue donations for research purposes, and cover costs of transport and storage.
According to the U.S. code, fetal tissue donations to research facilities are legal, as long as the woman providing the tissue gives consent for the donation. If the fetal tissue is provided after an abortion, the woman must give consent for the abortion before giving consent for the donation.
Additionally, the law says donations are legal as long as, "No alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue."
Koster said his investigation would focus on whether Planned Parenthood provided patients with "adequate, accurate information about these procedures," according Koster's office.
"Regardless of whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, the questions raised by these videos require careful review," Koster said. "My office will investigate whether the practices described have occurred within our state and whether Missouri law has been violated."
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder called for hearings Thursday on Planned Parenthood regarding CMP's video.
Missouri Reps. Andrew Koenig and Diane Franklin said Friday they'd coordinate a joint investigation into whether the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis sold aborted fetuses for profit.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri released a statement shortly after Koster announced the investigation.
The press release said the Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates do not participate in tissue donation programs. They also said that Planned Parenthood will cooperate with any investigations.
"These political attacks claiming that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation or illegal activity are simply not true. Some Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country have programs for women and families who want to donate tissue to leading research institutions that will use it to help find treatment and cures for diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Our affiliates do not have or participate in tissue donation programs," the press release said.