US Department of Justice seeks documents on fetal tissue transfers

A Planned Parenthood sign

A Planned Parenthood sign

The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter on Thursday, seen by Reuters, seeking documents related to a Senate committee's report on the transfer of fetal tissue by abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

Stephen Boyd, the Justice Department assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, formally requested in a letter unredacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee - the same panel who in 2016 led a congressional inquiry into allegations that Planned Parenthood sold tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to research firms, reported Fox News.

After the controversy over its profiting from fetal tissue harvesting, Planned Parenthood announced that they would no longer be accepting reimbursement for the tissue.

"At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only-we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the Department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury", Boyd also wrote.

"The report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue", Grassley wrote. "Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients' choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research", she added.

CNN is told that Grassley said in order to turn over the documentation he needed to receive a letter from DOJ explaining that the materials underlying his report would be used for investigative purposes, according a source with knowledge of the discussions. "It also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law".

"While Planned Parenthood braces for a criminal probe, states across the country are systematically doing what Congress fell just short of: redirecting taxpayer dollars away from Planned Parenthood".

Abby Johnson, former PP manager and current head of And Then There Were None is applauding the investigation.

"These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood".

This new federal investigation comes two years after the Center for Medial Progress released undercover footage of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of baby body parts. "They've lied to the very women they purport to fight for".