JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Senate Pro Tem Tom Dempsey formed a special interim committee today to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood may have violated state law.
“The recent allegations that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue to medical laboratories is not only appalling, but illegal as well,” Dempsey said in a statement. “This type of action demands a legislative investigation. I am tasking this interim committee to find out exactly what is going on behind closed doors and hold them accountable for any illegal actions.”
Dempsey named Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican running for attorney general in 2016, to lead the committee.
“Missourians deserve to know the truth behind this potentially atrocious violation of our state laws and humane values,” Schaefer said. “Over the next few months this committee will conduct a rigorous investigation into the monstrous and inconceivable acts carried out by Planned Parenthood.”
The announcement follows an earlier statement from Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster that he too will investigate Planned Parenthood to look for any potential violations of state law related to their abortion services.
The announcements come following the release of a hidden-camera video 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.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.