JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway weighed in on the Planned Parenthood controversy Thursday afternoon with a press release, calling for the Gov. Jay Nixon to call a special session of the general assembly to enact stricter penalties on those who sell tissue from aborted fetuses.
“The discussions and actions in these videos are abhorrent and an outright disgrace to humanity,” Hanaway said in the release. “I further call upon Gov. Nixon to call a special session to allow the General Assembly to implement stiffer penalties for the purchase and selling of fetal tissues and organs.”
Hanaway’s release included information about both a state and federal statute that makes the selling of fetal tissue illegal. Missouri law currently classifies the crime as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison or up to $1,000 in fines. At the federal level, the punishment is much more severe: up to 10 years in jail and $500,000 in fines.
The conservative candidate would like to see Missouri’s punishments match those of the federal government’s.
Hanaway is just one in the chorus of pro-life voices around the state acting on information released last week by the Center for Medical Progress, a right wing group that made a video showing a high-ranking Planned Parenthood official allegedly speaking about her role in selling the tissue of aborted fetuses for medical experimentation.
The video has been criticized by the left for its heavy use of editing and the fact that many of Dr. Deborah Nucatola’s comments seem to be taken out of context, but conservatives across the state have continued to call for more scrutiny of Planned Parenthood.
Reps. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, and Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, opened an investigation into how Missouri’s Planned Parenthood branches dispose of their fetal remains, and Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, will chair a “Sanctity of Life” committee to also look into the organization. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, a candidate for state treasurer, will join Schaefer on that committee.
Democratic AG Chris Koster also opened an investigation Tuesday.