WASHINGTON — A Republican-led House committee asked Friday for a briefing from the Planned Parenthood official whose secretly recorded discussion of how her organization obtains tissue from aborted fetuses for research has ignited a new GOP political offensive on abortion.
The letter to Planned Parenthood from GOP leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said comments by Dr. Deborah Nucatola "raise most troubling questions with regard to your organization's practices when performing abortions and whether those practices are consistent with federal law."
Planned Parenthood has reprimanded Nucatola and apologized for her "tone and statements." The group says it has broken no laws, which forbid the commercial sale of fetal tissue and ban a late-term abortion procedure opponents call "partial-birth abortion."
Top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a separate letter Friday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to describe how the Justice Department enforces the prohibition against that abortion procedure, and to investigate whether Planned Parenthood has violated that ban.
A little-known anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress released an excerpted video Tuesday in which Nucatela, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, discusses how her group obtains organs from fetuses.
Secretly recorded over wine and lunch by two actors posing as would-be purchasers of fetal tissue, Nucatela casually discusses how her group charges $30 to $100 for getting the organs. In the full video, she also says repeatedly that the fees are only designed to cover costs and that the process is aimed at furthering research.
GOP leaders of the House committee, including Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said they would like Nucatola to brief committee aides this month. The letter said they want her to explain the group's standards for "the collection and sale of fetal tissue."
Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond when asked if Nucatela would appear.