The findings of the Attorney General’s investigation of Planned Parenthood won’t stop a Senate committee from investigating its operations in Missouri, though one member says they should.
That investigation and those by House and Senate committees began after the release of a series of undercover videos began in July, alleging Planned Parenthood has illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue.
Attorney General Chris Koster says his office’s investigation found that Planned Parenthood is breaking no Missouri laws.
Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) called that investigation “incomplete,” and said his committee investigating Planned Parenthood still has work to do.
“They just looked at some representative documents from a very narrow window, a very narrow timeframe, and didn’t actually talk to any witnesses,” Schaefer said was his understanding.
The Attorney General’s office said it conducted “multiple interviews of representatives” of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis and the pathology laboratory that examines the fetal remains that result from abortions performed there, but Schaefer says he believes those spoken to were only attorneys.
Schaefer has said his committee will subpoena that pathologist and representatives of the company that is responsible for incinerating those remains. He said the Attorney General’s investigation, which looked at Planned Parenthood’s operations in St. Louis in June, doesn’t offer a broad enough examination.
“As we learned in the committee, there’s actually a timeframe when the pathologist wasn’t even submitting reports to [The State Department of Health], and that’s not covered by this timeframe,” said Schaefer.
A Democrat who sits on that committee, Senator Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), dispute’s Schaefer’s argument that the Attorney General’s investigation wasn’t complete. She says it was thorough, and calls the finding that Planned Parenthood hasn’t broken the law in Missouri unsurprising.
“It has been demonstrated that Planned Parenthood of Missouri is not in the business of selling fetal tissue. [Investigating that] is why the committee was formed,” said Schupp. “It’s time to move on.”
Schaefer says he still wants to know what a Planned Parenthood doctor featured in the first of those videos meant when she called St. Louis an “untapped” market for fetal tissue.
“We need to know what that means,” said Schaefer. “I don’t think [the Attorney General’s] investigation does anything for shedding light on what is meant in that video by St. Louis is a undertapped market for selling baby body parts.”
Schupp says for the committee to continue holding hearings to investigate that would be ridiculous.
“We have all kinds of laws and there is an expectation that we will obey them. It’s is like saying are they going to follow you, Mike Lear, because you may break a law at some point in time?” said Schupp.
The senate committee does not have any other hearings scheduled. The two state House committees that have met jointly to conduct that chamber’s investigation of Planned Parenthood are scheduled to hold a hearing October 14.