Pence orders investigation of state Planned Parenthood clinics 

Order issued amid uproar over video

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By Max Bomber

Planned Parenthood facilities across the state are going under the microscope.

On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence ordered the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood clinics in cooperation with the attorney general’s office.

The move comes after the emergence of a video released by anti-abortion activists who say it shows a Planned Parenthood official trying to profit by selling remains to medical researchers.

“The callous disregard for life exhibited in the video is deeply disturbing and we must not stand idly by,” Pence said in his letter.

The hidden-camera video shows Planned Parenthood’s national senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola, allegedly discussing prices for what she refers to as “specimens.” She goes on to graphically describe the abortion procedures the group’s physicians commonly use to keep certain organs intact.

Under federal and state law, the buying or selling of human body parts is a felony.

The video was not filmed in Indiana. National Planned Parenthood officials have said they don’t profit from tissue sales and that tissue donation for medical research is legal.

An antiabortion group called the Center for Medical Progress posted the video on its website.

“We have seen the governor’s letter,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “As state government’s lawyer, my office will provide legal counsel as needed to our state government clients including the Indiana State Department of Health, with regard to the department’s assessment of whether medical regulations and other legal requirements are being followed.”

Pence also wrote to the Indiana congressional delegation about the video.

His letter also went to the U.S. attorneys in the state’s Northern and Southern federal court districts as well as to county prosecutors in Marion, Monroe, Tippecanoe, and Lake counties, all of which have Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions.

“Every Hoosier should be deeply troubled by allegations that Planned Parenthood affiliates are engaged in the trafficking of human remains. If true, this is not only illegal, it is morally reprehensible,” wrote Pence in his letter.

Max Bomber is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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