The Justice Department has launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue.
Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd formally requested unredacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the same panel that led the congressional probe into the women’s health organization.
“The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, 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,” Boyd wrote.
The letter, sent to Grassley and Feinstein on Thursday, is a rare confirmation by the Justice Department of a federal investigation.
“At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only—we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the Department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury,” Boyd also wrote.
In the committee’s final report entitled “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy” published in December 2016, Grassley referred Planned Parenthood and other providers to the FBI for investigation.
Grassley said at the time that the committee has discovered enough evidence that shows how abortion providers had transferred fetal tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses for research by charging amounts higher than they actually cost.
“The report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue,” Grassley wrote last December urging the Justice Department and FBI to investigate. “It also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law.”
The now-federal investigation comes after a 2015 undercover investigation by activists David Daleiden, leader of the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, an employee of the group, who both posed as fetal researchers and made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.
The recorded conversations included officials from Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, a California company that provides blood, tissue and other biological material for medical research and has received fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.
Read more: Fox News