Planned Parenthood of WI dismisses GOP calls for state investigation
MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican state lawmakers are renewing their calls for a state investigation of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin after the release of a second video showing a national Planned Parenthood official negotiating the donation of human fetal tissue.
The Center for Medical Progress is responsible for both videos, with the second showing showing Mary Gatter, president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors Council, negotiating a price for fetal tissue.
While it is illegal under federal law to sell human fetal tissue for anything of "valuable consideration" - that "does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue."
Planned Parenthood officials say the price being negotiated in the video falls under that exception.
But for Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), it is very clear to him the eight-minute video is proof of illegal activity.
"It's just further documentation that Planned Parenthood is definitely in the business of selling baby body parts," said Sen. Stroebel.
It's why he is calling for a state investigation into Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI).
"We need to get into their books," said Sen. Stroebel. "That's what we really need to see. We need to see where they're revenues come from."
"We are not donating fetal tissue, so it's unclear to me what exactly they would want to investigate," said Nicole Safar, public policy director for PPWI.
Safar said PPWI simply doesn't have the infrastructure to facilitate human fetal tissue donation.
"If that's what they say, fine, but they're going to have to be able to verify that and that's what I'm looking for for the State of Wisconsin - their verification of their statements," said Sen. Stroebel.
But Safar also objects to the premise that any Planned Parenthood offices are selling fetal tissue. Congressional Republicans, including Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI-7), want a federal investigation of the organization as well.
"It seems like a lot of political sort of rallying that they're doing, but, I have yet to see a credible argument they could make for investigating us," said Safar.
But Sen. Stroebel said he and other Republican lawmakers will not be swayed here in Wisconsin.
"We are going to make every effort possible to be able to get into those books, see where that taxpayer money is going and as a part of that organization, see where they are also generating all their revenues and if they are generating other revenues from the sale of body parts of babies," said Sen. Stroebel, who notes that the state organization gets federal funding, albeit for non-abortion related services.
Those comments come just a day after the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, led by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), called on Assembly Democrats to return all campaign donations from Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Stroebel said he is not sure what form such an investigation would take and who would conduct it at this point, but feels lawmakers have a number of options at their disposal.