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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES - About half of the Iowa Legislature's 81 Republican members Monday called on Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to investigate the practices of abortion providers in Iowa to determine if any state laws have been broken.
The 41 House and Senate Republicans said their request was prompted after videos surfaced showing employees from abortion providers discussing the harvesting and selling of aborted baby organs. The legislators say they want Miller to determine 'whether any relevant laws were broken by abortion providers in the state.”
'As it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to ensure abortion providers in the State of Iowa are following applicable laws, we respectfully urge you to investigate current and planned abortion operations within Iowa to ensure compliance with the law,” the GOP legislators said in their joint letter signed by 28 representatives and 13 senators. The list of signees did not include current House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, Speaker-select Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights, or Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock.
The Republicans' letter poses 10 questions to the attorney general that they want answered regarding the contracting with companies to sell or transfer aborted human body parts and organs. The lawmakers also want to determine if abortion providers are 'actively deceiving” their patients through federally mandated disclosure forms on what procedures are being used in order to more easily harvest aborted human body parts and organs, and if any providers are 'intentionally neglecting” to obtain consent from patients for tissue donation, 'thus harvesting fetal body parts and organs without the mothers' knowledge and/or legal permission.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Terry Branstad said his administration has begun reviewing grant money being paid to Planned Parenthood to consider options going forward regarding the organization that has come under fire due to a series of undercover videos purportedly showing officials from the group discussing fetal tissue.
Branstad, who has come under pressure from conservative Christian organizations to 'defund” Planned Parenthood, last week called the videos 'outrageous and inappropriate,” but noted there was no evidence that any had originated in Iowa.
The GOP governor said any probe of possible criminal wrongdoing would have to be conducted by the Iowa Attorney General's Office and he noted that no state money goes for funding abortions in Iowa, and he noted that most of the reimbursement money paid to the organization for family-planning and other services comes from federal sources.
'We received the request this morning. We will review it and reply accordingly,” Geoff Greenwood, communications director for the Iowa Attorney General's Office, said in an email reply.
Suzanna de Baca, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, issued a statement noting that her organization is 'the most trusted women's health care provider” in the nation has provided quality care for nearly 100 years.
'Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our patients,” de Baca said in a statement. ' As a high-quality health care provider, Planned Parenthood has extremely high standards and works cooperatively with various state agencies to ensure compliance with all regulations. If an investigation is launched, as with any review or audit, we will work cooperatively with the Attorney General's office in that process.
'However, this is another an attempt to roll back access to health care, including basic, preventive health care – lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams – from the nearly 38,000 women and men we serve each year in Iowa. Distracting lawmakers with outrageous claims are exactly what groups opposed to a woman's right to make personal health care decisions intended to do, and it's disappointing that lawmakers are using these widely discredited attacks to try to justify their political agenda,” she added.