Review requested by GOP senators, seeking answers about federal oversight of fetal tissue research.
The inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has agreed to comply with a request by a number of Republican senators to review the process in which the federal government oversees fetal tissue research, according to a story on businessinsider.com.
The request was made after some Republican senators were not satisfied with the answers they received from HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in July of this year, when she was questioned by Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and 49 of his Senate colleges asking for an investigation after a video of officials from Planned Parenthood planning to sell aborted baby parts.
Paul was joined by 35 other GOP senators in making the request to the agency back in October.
Paul said in a statement the audit of the procedures would cover all fetal tissue research supported by HHS, and added the way the agency enforced compliance with relevant federal laws would be examined as well.
Paul’s statement continues by saying he was encouraged by the action of the Inspector General, and that Planned Parenthood’s actions demonstrated the organization did not deserve taxpayer dollars, adding he was confident the investigation would bear that out.
Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing in the matter, and said that only a few clinics had accepted funds to cover the cost of providing tissue for research. The organization announced in October they would no longer accept reimbursement and they would cover the costs of providing the tissue themselves.
Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president said the organization would welcome the HHS review of practices involving fetal tissue donation, adding the work is critical to lifesaving medical research, and has led to a number of breakthroughs.
Laugens also said Planned Parenthood had been involved in eight state investigations and no wrongdoing had been uncovered.
Daniel Levinson, Inspector general of the HHS, told Paul in a letter he would provide periodic updates on the progress of the review, but did not give a deadline for its completion.
Since the release of the Planned Parenthood videos, several investigations have been launched by congressional Republicans, including a House select committee probe that is not expected to be completed until the end of next year.