The Trump administration has opened up an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices.
The Justice Department sent a letter, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner, to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday requesting unredacted versions of documents from the panel's 2016 investigation into the group.
The letter states that Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, provided the agency with a redacted version of the report from the panel's investigation in April 2017 and said that if they wanted to further investigate the issue they needed to formally contact the committee in writing.
Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd pursued the committee's request, formally asking Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Thursday for the documents for investigative purposes and not for a formal legal proceeding, which he notes would need a Senate resolution.
Boyd explained that he is requesting the documents “in order to further the department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available."
In December 2016, the Judiciary Committee published the report, “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy,” which called on the Justice Department and FBI to further investigate the women’s health organization.
Grassley said that their investigation found enough evidence proving that the organization had violated laws banning the buying and selling of human fetal tissue by charging researchers a higher-than-usual cost for transferred body parts and fetal tissue from aborted fetuses.
Grassley urged the FBI and Justice Department to “enforce” these laws and investigate Planned Parenthood’s actions.
The organization’s fetal tissue practices were first called into question after an undercover sting operation with videos which appeared to show they were harvesting fetal organs for profit. The organization then stopped accepting any reimbursement from researchers for aborted fetal tissue.
A spokesperson from Chairman Grassley's office told the Washington Examiner: "On Thursday evening, the Committee received the Department’s official request for unredacted copies of its 2016 report and we will work to cooperate fully."