HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) have urged Attorney General Kathleen Kane to launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania, according to a letter sent to the attorney general.
The request for an investigation stems from a recent video reportedly showing a national Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of fetal body parts. Fox News reports a second video, which was unveiled today, shows Dr. Mary Gatter, who was president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors’ Council until 2014 and now works in a leadership and advisory capacity at the local and national level of the organization, discussing with an undercover activist “specimen” prices, eventually settling at $100 for “intact tissue.”
In a previous hidden camera video, Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood of America’s senior director of medical research, said that abortion doctors can adjust their methods to leave organs intact.
The legislative leaders noted that Pennsylvania has, at times, failed to ensure adequate oversight of abortion practices. They cited the case of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, an abortion practitioner who was convicted in 2013 on multiple counts of first-degree murder for killing a mother and seven babies who were born alive after unsuccessful abortions. The lawmakers said an inquiry should be initiated to ensure that such failure of oversight is not repeated.
“If these practices are occurring in Pennsylvania, they would be in stark violation of federal and state laws,” said Turzai. “We need to denounce and stop these gruesome practices.”
The full contents of the letter can be seen below.
July 17, 2015
The Honorable Kathleen Kane
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear General Kane:
Recent news reports have revealed shocking video of Planned Parenthood Federation Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing, in great length, the procedure by which their employees extract unborn babies’ organs and body parts during abortion procedures in order to maintain them for sale or transfer. Dr. Nucatola also goes on to describe, in vivid detail, how Planned Parenthood performs partial birth abortions. If these practices are occurring in Pennsylvania, they would be in stark violation of federal and state law.
U.S. federal law states that, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” In addition, Congress passed legislation which was signed into law in 2003 banning the practice of partial birth abortions. This law has since been found constitutional by the United States Supreme Court.
Further, the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act provides: “No remuneration, compensation or other consideration may be paid to any person or organization in connection with the procurement of fetal tissue or organs.” Abortions performed after 24 weeks gestational age are also illegal under Pennsylvania law.
Investigations have recently been initiated in other states in order to ensure that the actions of Planned Parenthood are not in violation of well-established law. We are requesting that you coordinate with Governor Wolfs Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, Physician General Rachel Levine and Secretary of State Pedro Cortes to do the same here in Pennsylvania.
As you well know, unfortunately in the past there has not been significant oversight of abortion practices in Pennsylvania. The Dr. Kermit Gosnell case is a stain on the Commonwealth that should not be forgotten. We feel very strongly that a formal inquiry in concert with the Executive Branch must immediately be initiated in light of the aforementioned testimony, to ensure that history is not similarly repeated. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and we look forward to your prompt response.
Speaker of the House, Mike Turzai
Senate President Pro Tempore, Joe Scarnati