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Ernst Leads 49 Senators Raising Concerns with Planned Parenthood Practices, Urging HHS Secretary to Comply with Investigations.

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Ernst Leads Bipartisan Group of 49 Fellow Senators Raising Concerns with Planned Parenthood Practices, Urging HHS Secretary to Comply with Investigations, Conduct Assessment to Facilitate Congressional Review  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of 49 of her fellow senators today in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell following the release of footage by the Center for Medical Progress depicting senior Planned Parenthood Federation of America executives discussing in gruesome detail the organization’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies. In the letter, the senators draw attention to the legal, ethical, and policy issues raised by the footage and call on HHS Secretary Burwell to cooperate with ongoing and future investigations into these questions.

The footage raises a number of questions about the practices of the organization, including whether they are in compliance with federal laws regulating both the use of fetal tissue and partial-birth abortions,” the senators wrote. “In addition to questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with applicable federal law and medical ethics, we believe the footage prompts important policy questions surrounding the issue of abortions permitted so late in a pregnancy – sometimes even later than 5 months – that an unborn baby’s organs can be identified and harvested.” 

The senators also requested that the Secretary confirm the commencement or immediate initiation of “a thorough internal review of the compliance of the Department and Planned Parenthood – one of the Department’s grantees – with all relevant and applicable federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.”

Senator Joni Ernst also added in a statement, “This footage is morally reprehensible, vile, and raises a number of questions that taxpayers deserve answers to. Today, my colleagues and I are calling on HHS to cooperate with all current and future investigations into these shocking allegations. As a defender of life, I remain committed to getting these answers because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.”

The full text of the senators’ letter can be found here.

The complete list of the 50 senators who signed the letter is as follows:

Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Senator John Barrasso

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator John Boozman

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Shelley Moore Capito

Senator Bill Cassidy

Senator Dan Coats

Senator Thad Cochran

Senator Bob Corker

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Tom Cotton

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Steve Daines

Senator Mike Enzi

Senator Joni Ernst

Senator Deb Fischer

Senator Jeff Flake

Senator Cory Gardner

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator John Hoeven

Senator Jim Inhofe

Senator Johnny Isakson

Senator Ron Johnson

Senator James Lankford

Senator Mike Lee

Senator Joe Manchin

Senator John McCain

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senator Jerry Moran

Senator Rand Paul

Senator David Perdue

Senator Rob Portman

Senator James Risch

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator Mike Rounds

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Ben Sasse

Senator Tim Scott

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Richard Shelby

Senator Dan Sullivan

Senator John Thune

Senator Thom Tillis

Senator Pat Toomey

Senator David Vitter

Senator Roger Wicker