Democrats Demand GOP Stop Investigating Fetal Harvesting Industry
But Chair Marsha Blackburn told The Stream that Democrats are merely blocking the truth from being exposed.
Nearly every Democrat in the House of Representatives has signed a letter demanding Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) disband the committee investigating the abortion industry and its connection to the fetal harvesting industry.
“From the beginning, Chair Marsha Blackburn has used her unilateral subpoena power to intimidate scientific researchers, doctors, clinics, health care providers, universities, and other entities,” claims the letter, signed by almost 180 of the House’s 188 Democrats. “The most recent subpoenas are only the latest in a series of aggressive tactics that constitute a virtually unprecedented abuse of Congressional power, perhaps only matched by the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s.”
Democrats oppose the House’s Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, with only two voting for its creation last fall. They claim the committee is abusing its legal limitations by issuing subpoenas to organizations that use the harvested fetal organs and other body parts, such as abortion facilities and universities.
The letter’s signers argue that the committee is endangering the safety of abortionists and their employees, as well as others, by using “hyperbolic rhetoric and misleading allegations” about the practices of the fetal harvesting industry. They pointed to last year’s Planned Parenthood shooting allegedly conducted by Robert Dear, a mentally unbalanced man who said part of his goal was to stop the sales of baby parts.
The letter’s claims are similar to those made in a press conference earlier this month by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Ever since its creation, the Republicans’ Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health’s sole purpose has been to drive an outrageous campaign of misrepresentation and intimidation,” said Pelosi.
The committee’s top Republican refused to back down on her efforts to investigate the harvesting industry’s connections to abortionists. “The question everyone should be asking is, why are Democrats so afraid of letting the truth come out?” asked Blackburn in a statement to The Stream, her second in recent weeks about her effort to expose alleged lawbreaking. “Our core mission includes a federal criminal statute that makes it a felony to sell human fetal tissue for a profit. When presented with a sample of documents from StemExpress and several abortion clinics at our hearing last month, all witnesses agreed that the Panel should fully review bank and accounting records to gain a complete understanding of what is going on.”
“Yet, these entities still refuse to comply with our repeated requests for these documents. This is exactly why this investigation is warranted. We must continue to pursue these records if we are ever to get the facts that we need in order to complete our investigation. The American people deserve nothing less.”
The committee’s hearings have reflected the partisan tension, with last month’s hearing filled with Democratic accusations of dishonesty by Republicans — and Republicans responding by accusing Democrats of leaking information.
That hearing examined evidence the GOP-led committee claims shows abortion clinics incurred no cost when harvesting organs and other parts. If true, this would make any reimbursements received from harvesting companies, such as the group StemExpress that used to partner with Planned Parenthood, illegal.
ACLU vs. Priests for Life
After the letter was released, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling said that “by issuing broad and baseless subpoenas, the Select Investigative Panel is not only wasting time and taxpayer money, but also violating the civil liberties of health care providers, medical researchers, and staff.”
“This panel’s actions are clearly meant to harass and intimidate healthcare providers to prevent them from providing constitutionally protected care women need. Speaker Ryan would do well to focus on things that would protect women’s health, not put the livelihoods and privacy of doctors at risk.”
A different view was offered by Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone. In a statement, Pavone said that “the 178 Democrats who signed this letter show an enormous degree of unity when it comes to perpetuating violence against the unborn, and for allowing the corrupt abortion industry to continue operating without oversight.”
“But these are politicians, after all, and they need to be able to count on an uninterrupted stream of blood money flowing to their coffers from the deep pockets of Planned Parenthood. They are fully aware that House Republican leaders will continue the probe, but they can show Cecile Richards and her ilk that at least they tried.”
The letter appears to have had no effect on Ryan’s support for the committee. The Washington Post quoted spokesperson Ashlee Strong as saying, “Speaker Ryan supports the Select Committee’s continued efforts to protect infant lives.”