Planned Parenthood stirs heated discussion in public Senate forum

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate's interim committee on the sanctity of life hosted a public forum so members of the community could state their opinion on the committee's Planned Parenthood investigation. Of the 17 witnesses, only one was opposed to the investigation.

Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St.Louis) said the hearing was a "witch hunt" and the committee only allowed certain witnesses to testify.

Committee chair Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) said any member of the public was invited to speak. He said most that did said it is important to "protect the unborn and save lives."

Sue Gibson,a board member for the Missouri chapter's National Organization of Women offered the only public testimony against the committee's investigation.

"There shouldn't even be a committee," Gibson said. "It's up to law enforcement to investigate egregious charges. The senators themselves are using inflammatory language and telling outright lies."

The committee is investigating allegations against Planned Parenthood for a recent viral video showing the organization illegally selling fetal tissue.

Schaefer said the committee plans on subpoenaing a representative from Planned Parenthood in the next hearings.

"The committee is going to move forward. It does appear from what we've learned in the committees so far, in the state of Missouri, the law is not being followed and we're going to pursue that," he said.

The committee has not scheduled the next hearing.