Whatcom County legislators call for Planned Parenthood probe

By Steve Guntli

Two Whatcom County legislators are among Washington Republicans calling for the state to investigate Planned Parenthood.

Representatives Vincent Buys and Luanne VanWerven, both of Lynden, added their signatures to a letter asking state attorney general Bob Ferguson to launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood. The organization has been under fire across the nation after video footage was released earlier this month that allegedly shows top executives negotiating the sale of aborted fetal tissue.

The video appears to show Planned Parenthood president Dr. Mary Gatter and senior medical director Dr. Deborah Nucatola answering questions from actors who were posing as representatives for a “fetal tissue procurement company.” In the video, Gatter and Nucatola appear to be negotiating for the sale of aborted fetal tissue for profit.

Planned Parenthood has responded to the allegations, claiming the video, released by The Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life activist group, was heavily edited to distort the facts. Representatives say the conversation in the video related to the donation of organs and tissues, a common and legal practice. According to Planned Parenthood, the monetary sums discussed in the video (ranging from $30 to $100) are standard operating fees conducive with organ donations for any medical facility. Patients can legally consent to donate fetal tissue, and clinics can charge small fees to cover office expenses.

Washington lawmakers want Ferguson to determine if Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sales of fetal tissues. So far, 34 legislators, all Republican, have signed the letter.

“Regardless of personal views of legalized abortion, a civilized society cannot tolerate unethical medical practices such as the harvesting of human organs for monetary gain,” the letter said.

The recently passed operating budget for the state includes $50 million in state and federal funds for Planned Parenthood. The organization provides a suite of services for people, including birth control, cancer screening, family planning, STD education and health exams. According to Planned Parenthood, abortions make up about 3 percent of their annual services.

A protest organization, Women Betrayed, has already planned protests of Planned Parenthood in 65 cities around the country in response to the video. At least two state governors, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Texas’ Greg Abbott, have called for extensive investigations of the organization in their states.

  1. As I suspected, Buys and VanWerven represent Lynden first and the rest of Whatcom County second.


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