Gov. requests IG to join investigation concerning illegal harves - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gov. requests IG to join investigation concerning illegal harvesting of body parts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal requested Inspector General Stephen Street to initiate a joint investigation with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to determine whether Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is engaged in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of human body parts.

An activist group released an undercover video Tuesday of what they said is a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses.

According to a news release from the Center for Medical Progress, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, admitted to supplying intact body parts by using partial-birth abortions.

Eric Ferrero, vice president of communication for PPFA, said in a statement that the allegations made in the video were untrue. He said patients sometimes decide to donate to research, and health centers help them do that under "the highest ethical and legal standards."

"A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research," he said.

In the video, shot in July 2014, actors claimed to pose as buyers from a human biologics company and secretly recorded Nucatola during a business lunch in California.

"I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps," Nucatola said in the video. "The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium - the head - is basically the biggest part."

She went on to say, "We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below. I’m going to crush above, and I’m going to see if I can get it all intact."

Below is the letter Thomas Enright, Executive Counsel, sent to the Inspector General. 

July 15, 2015

Stephen Street
State Inspector General
Post Office Box 94095
Baton Rouge, LA  70804-9095


Dear Inspector General Street:

On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, a video surfaced showing a Planned Parenthood Federation of America senior director describing how some Planned Parenthood affiliates are contracting with companies to sell organs and tissues harvested from aborted babies. 

An affiliate of this parent organization, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC), based out of Houston, Texas, is currently building an abortion clinic on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Partial Birth Abortions, the Sale of Organs, as well as Human Experimentation are illegal under both federal and state law.  (42 U.S. Code 274e, Prohibition of Organ Purchases; 18 U.S. Code 1531, Partial-Birth Abortions Prohibited; 42 U.S. Code 289g-1, Research on Transplantation of Fetal Tissue; La. R.S. 14:101.1, Purchase or Sale of Human Organs; La. R.S. 14:32.10, Partial Birth Abortion; and, La. R.S. 14:87.2, Human Experimentation.)

After viewing these videos, Governor Jindal directed the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to investigate the current activities of the organization along with its planned activities for the proposed Louisiana facility to ensure Planned Parenthood is not currently engaging in illegal practices or planning to do so. The Governor has also requested that the FBI assist DHH in investigating this alleged criminal activity.

I urgently request that you initiate a joint investigation with DHH and the FBI to determine whether Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is engaged in the illegal harvesting and trafficking of human body parts. Furthermore, Louisiana currently has five licensed outpatient abortion facilities. I request that you review the records and policies of these clinics with regards to the disposal of organs and tissues from aborted babies to determine if any of their practices violate Louisiana law and conditions of their receipt of public funds for non-abortion services.  Please also determine the nature of any relationship, business or otherwise, that any of these clinics may have with StemExpress (www.stemexpress.com) or any other corporation that financially profits from harvesting and distributing aborted unborn baby body parts or is in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies.

Sincerely,

Thomas L. Enright, Jr.

Officials with Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) sent the following letter as a response:

Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert sent the following letter to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast following Governor Jindal's request for an investigation.

July 15, 2015

Melaney Linton
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc.
4600 Gulf Freeway
Houston, TX 77023

Dear Melaney Linton,

Our administration was shocked to learn of the allegations that some Planned Parenthood affiliates are contracting with companies to sell or transfer human body parts and organs. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has oversight over all health facilities in the state and it is our duty to ensure that any provider operating under or applying for a facility license follow all local, state and federal laws. Violating local, state or federal law would be grounds for denying a license application or revoking an existing license.

In light of the news reports and allegations surrounding Planned Parenthood, we request your organization answer some simple questions about your current operations and planned operations in Louisiana to ensure it is in compliance with Louisiana law.

Please respond to the following questions by July 24, 2015.

1. How do Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, dispose of unborn baby remains? Please provide us with details of that process.

2. Do any Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, sell or donate any unborn baby organs or body parts?

3. Do any Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, contract with companies that assist Planned Parenthood with disposing of, donating, or selling of unborn baby organs or body parts? If so, please describe exactly what these companies do with the unborn baby remains.

4. Please provide the names and addresses of any and all companies that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, contract with for the disposal, donation, or sale of unborn baby organs or body parts.

5. How many clinics operated by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, do business with StemExpress, or any other organizations in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies?

6. What information do you provide to the women in Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, regarding the selling, donation, and/or disposal of their unborn baby’s body parts?

7. Please confirm that no existing Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, offer abortion or abortion-related services, given that none of your Louisiana facilities are licensed as abortion providers.
8. How many Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, offer pregnancy option information that directs patients to abortion clinics that do business with StemExpress, the Planned Parenthood partner that boasts about “financial profits” that come from harvesting and distributing aborted unborn baby body parts?

9. How many existing Louisiana Planned Parenthood facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, have business ties of any kind with StemExpress, or any other organizations in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies?

10. Will the New Orleans clinic for which you are planning to apply to DHH for a license have any business ties with StemExpress, or any other organizations in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies?

11. Your website notes that you offer “alternative pregnancy options.” Where do you direct people interested in alternative pregnancy options? Have you verified that these facilities do not have any business ties with StemExpress or any other organizations in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies?

We await your response.

Sincerely,


Kathy H. Kliebert
Secretary
LA Department of Health & Hospitals

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