House chairman subpoenas uncut Planned Parenthood videos

AP News
Posted: Sep 15, 2015 7:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee chairman issued a subpoena Tuesday for an anti-abortion group's unedited videos about Planned Parenthood's provision of fetal tissue for research.

The subpoena by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was the GOP's latest move in its escalating battle against Planned Parenthood. The party has long battled that group, which performs abortions and provides birth control in clinics from coast to coast.

The Center for Medical Research released its 10th, edited video on Tuesday. It claims its videos, which it recorded furtively, show that Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from fetal tissue sales.

Planned Parenthood says it has done nothing wrong and says the videos were deceptively edited to distort what its officials said.

A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked the center from releasing some of the longer, unedited video from which the shorter ones are produced. That ruling came after the National Abortion Federation, a group whose officials are included in the videos, sued the group for secretly attending its annual meetings.

"The action of the court will not thwart or impede Congress' constitutional duty and right to conduct effective oversight," Chaffetz said in a written statement.

In an email, David Daleiden, the center's founder, said he was beginning to copy the footage Chaffetz requested to a hard drive to send the committee.

"It may take some time as it is quite a large amount of data," he wrote.

Chaffetz's panel is one of four congressional committees investigating Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero said his group supported Chaffetz's call for the unedited footage "because it will only show how heavily edited and deceptive these videos are."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on Chaffetz's panel, criticized the center for failing to provide a "single document" to Democrats trying to investigate if the center broke any laws in its furtive Planned Parenthood probe.

Republican lawmakers want Congress to cut off Planned Parenthood's federal funds, which comprise the bulk of the over $500 million the organization gets yearly from taxpayers.

Later this week, the House is likely to approve a bill blocking Planned Parenthood's money for a year. But Democrats are likely to derail the bill in the Senate.