See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris will review whether the group behind the Planned Parenthood attack videos violated any laws in making the deceitful recordings, which depict Planned Parenthood officials talking about the organization’s legal fetal tissue donation program.
The group behind the videos, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-choice front group based in southern California, posed as employees of a fake biologics company. CMP representatives met with Planned Parenthood officials, and goaded them into talking about the specifics of the health-care organization’s fetal tissue donation program, including the fees and the types of abortion procedure best suited to tissue donation.
Planned Parenthood officials did not know they were being recorded by the individuals, who have deep ties to the anti-choice movement’s radical and violent fringe.
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Tissue donation is legal, so long as a profit is not being made. It’s a longstanding practice that has contributed to medical research. Even so, CMP has said the heavily edited attack videos are proof that Planned Parenthood, the largest women’s health-care network in the country, is trafficking fetal tissue for profit.
Anti-choice lawmakers, including a handful of Republican presidential hopefuls, have initiated investigations into Planned Parenthood and introduced legislation to defund it.
Four House Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris asking them to investigate whether CMP had broken any federal or state laws.
The lawmakers said they believe David Daleiden, the head of CMP and the face behind the first video, may have illegally misrepresented the purpose and intention of his fake corporate entity.
“It is unclear from these reports what specific paperwork Mr. Daleiden’s group filed, whether the address listed ever hosted any legitimate business concern, the extent to which this group may have submitted false statements to governmental entities, whether the group transmitted fraudulent information through the mail or electronic communications, or whether this fake company filed tax returns or other documents with the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agencies,” the letter reads.
The representatives said that the group likely violated California’s two-party consent law by surreptitiously videotaping Planned Parenthood employees.
Harris, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, responded to those claims on Friday, writing in a letter that her office “will carefully review the allegations raised … to determine whether there were any violations of California law.
“This office will also review any materials filed by the Center for Medical Progress with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts to determine whether the organization violated laws including, but not limited to, our registration and reporting requirements,” she added.
Lynch on Wednesday stopped short of announcing an investigation, but said the Department of Justice would “review all the information and determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time.”