Republican lawmakers knew about a viral Planned Parenthood "sting video" well before it was released Tuesday, CQ Roll Call is reporting.
Since the video -- which appears to show a Planned Parenthood medical official discussing how abortion providers typically go about procuring fetal tissue for researchers -- was released, congressional leaders have called for an investigation into the claims raised by the group behind the video. Abortion foes say the video reveals that Planned Parenthood is selling the organs of aborted fetuses.
At least two members of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus admitted to CQ Roll Call that they had seen the video before its public release. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), pictured above, said he saw the video a month ago but didn't act on its supposed revelations immediately because "the hope was to have as much information as possible so that the authorities could be notified effectively before the media."
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) initially said he saw the video weeks ago only to attempt to walk back those comments -- telling CQ Roll Call that “This interview didn’t happen” -- before his spokeswoman clarified that he wanted to do his "due diligence" before embarking on an investigation. The Energy & Commerce subcommittee, which Murphy chairs, announced Wednesday that it was investigating the claims made about Planned Parenthood in light of the video.
The group that put out the video, The Center for Medical Progress, has accused Planned Parenthood of breaking the law by collecting profits off the donations of fetal tissue to researchers. Planned Parenthood says that it only charges researchers to offset the additional costs of procuring the tissue for their projects, in accordance with legal and industry standards.
The Center for Medical Progress appears to have ties to the anti-abortion group Live Action.
The House Judiciary Committee, of which Franks is a member, also announced Wednesday it was investigating the matter, as have the states of Texas and Louisiana.