Deal orders state review of Planned Parenthood

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered a review Thursday of Planned Parenthood after an undercover video by an anti-abortion group accused the group of illegally selling body parts of aborted fetuses.

Deal’s office said in a statement that the Department of Community Health and Department of Public Health will conduct a joint review of the clinics “to ensure this horrific practice is not occurring here.”

It’s also sparking outrage that promises to remain a hot issue into next year’s session of the Legislature.

The Georgia Life Alliance — the pro-life group that has attempted to push the more aggressive Georgia Right to Life to the side — has settled on the controversy as its first big issue and is calling for a state investigation. Said the group’s executive director, Emily Matson:

“The horrific and illegal acts described so callously by Planned Parenthood in yesterday’s video should give even the most ardent pro-choice advocate cause for grave concern. We urge Georgia’s lawmakers to acknowledge the gravity of this evidence and launch an investigation to ensure this is not happening in Georgia.

“In addition, and in light of the lacking nature of our state’s abortion provider regulations, the time is now to ensure abortion procedure and practices receive the scrutiny and attention of our regulatory and enforcement agencies.”

Republican-run committees in the U.S. House and Senate already are looking into the issue, and you can expect hearings soon. Planned Parenthood contends that its practices are legal. From CNN:

Planned Parenthood has countered that it donates the tissue for scientific research and receives only reimbursement for its expenses, which is legal. The group also says it helps people donate tissue “with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards,” according to a statement from spokesman Eric Ferrero.

Later, Ferrero issued another statement saying, “These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Women and families who make the decision to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving scientific research should be honored, not attacked and demeaned.”

The fight has already boiled over once this week in a commemorative coin bill intended to be noncontroversial. But the bill included Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which sends some grant money to Planned Parenthood for health screenings. From National Journal’s Daniel Newhauser:

On Wednesday afternoon, the House agreed unanimously to remove Susan G. Komen for the Cure from the legislation. The measure would have given some proceeds from the minting of commemorative coins to the Komen foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Now the money will only go to the latter organization.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.