Critics accuse legislative Republicans of grandstanding in their committees based on undercover videos that allege Planned Parenthood has illegally sold fetal tissue, but Republicans are standing their ground.
Joint committees met Wednesday to explore whether laws or rules were broken in Planned Parenthood’s resumption of abortions in Columbia, and whether the alleged illegal sale of fetal tissue could be happening in Missouri.
Planned Parenthood and its supporters say Missouri legislative Republicans are wasting time and taxpayer dollars with the legislative attention, and say the organization has broken no laws, and does not conduct in Missouri the fetal tissue donation program that is the focus of allegations.
A Doctor at Washington University who said he was speaking for himself, Ed Weisbart, dismisses those videos as unbelievable.
“This whole hearing process is based on a series of lies,” Weisbart said. “It drives me insane that our legislature would spend their time in this blatant witch hunt rather than just make the policy decisions that they want to make.”
One of the committee chairs, Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), said if there is any chance Planned Parenthood is breaking the law, or if there are loopholes that could be exploited, lawmakers should investigate.
“Why can’t we ask those questions? Why is that a bad thing to do, to find out if something like this is happening in Missouri?” asked Franklin.
The other committee’s chair, Andre Koenig (R-Manchester), said the hearings are turning up what could be loopholes that could be exploited, such as a possible lack of oversight of fetal tissue after an abortion.
“I didn’t get an answer [about] what happens to it after it goes to a pathology lab,” said Koenig. “Maybe what needs to happen is that since there’s a pathology lab on every abortion, maybe we need to have that checked when it actually goes and gets disposed of.”
The House committee and its Senate counterpart will continue hearings before the veto session in mid-September.