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Abbott Launches Investigation Into Fetal Tissue From Abortions

Tamir Kalifa
Texas Tribune

After an anti-abortion group on Tuesday released an undercover video showing an executive at Planned Parenthood discussing how to preserve an aborted fetus’s organs for medical research, Gov. Greg Abbott announced an investigation into the alleged practice.

“The video of a high-level Planned Parenthood executive discussing the details of internal abortion procedures — including harvesting of baby body parts — is unnerving and appalling,” Abbott said in a statement. “In light of the video, I have directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to conduct an immediate investigation of this alleged practice in addition to a separate investigation ordered by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.”

The video, filmed by a group called the Center for Medical Progress, portrays Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research, discussing how to “crush” a fetus in a way that keeps its internal organs intact.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,” she says in the recording.

Planned Parenthood clinics, with a patient’s permission, may sometimes donate fetal tissue for use in stem-cell research, a spokesman for the national group said in a statement Tuesday. Planned Parenthood has said the video misrepresents the organization’s work.

Planned Parenthood representatives in Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the state investigation.

The organization, which performs abortions and provides other women’s health services, has long been a target of Texas Republicans. This year, state lawmakers approved a budget that will prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in the joint state-federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program, which provides cancer screening for poor, uninsured women in Texas.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.