JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Another Republican seeking statewide office in 2016 has been named to the senate committee investigating Planned Parenthood during the coming months.
Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, a candidate for state treasurer in 2016 who increasingly looks like he’ll avoid a primary fight, announced today he was joining the committee, calling alleged illegal activity by Planned Parenthood “heinous and evil.” Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, a candidate for attorney general in 2016, chairs the committee. Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, is the vice chair.
“The sale of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood is truly degrading to human life and cannot be permitted to continue,” Schmitt said in a statement. “The investigation I will undertake with the other members of the committee will determine whether state laws were broken, and if so, the extent of these reckless acts on unborn children in Missouri. Make no mistake, if you work or have worked for Planned Parenthood and committed a crime, you should know right now that our committee will follow the evidence wherever it leads.”
The committee announcement came yesterday following the release of a hidden-camera video earlier this month from the anti-abortion activist group, The Center for Medical Progress that appears to show a senior director of medical research for Planned Parenthood explaining that the organization sometimes sells fetal tissue to various medical research labs in exchange for a fee.
Planned Parenthood officials say the video is heavily edited, deceptive, and misrepresents the organization’s actual practice of donating fetal tissue for legal medical research. The organization says any fee associated with the practice is strictly to cover shipping costs.
The committee will have 7 senators and is tasked with conducting “an in-depth analysis” of Planned Parenthood and the “methods by which they dispose human remains and aborted fetuses.” Hearings will be public and the committee will submit a report to the General Assembly by December 1.
“It is clear that this situation warrants a thorough investigation so that Missourians can know the truth about what has been going on at Planned Parenthood,” Schmitt said.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.