NC Family president John Rustin talks with Arina Grossu, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, about the ongoing Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged involvement in the illegal procurement and sale of aborted baby body parts.
INTRODUCTION: Arina Grossu is Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council in Washington D.C., where she focuses on sanctity of human life issues ranging from conception to natural death.
Arina is here to bring us up to speed on the ongoing congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, and to provide us with an update on the status of David Daleiden, the pro-life activist who was responsible for the video investigation released by the Center for Medical Progress last year. That investigation showed Planned Parenthood executives and staff callously picking through the remains of aborted unborn children, and haggling over the monetary value of their organs and other tissue. Unbelievably, David Daleiden is currently facing criminal charges for his work in this matter.
JOHN RUSTIN: Arina, I know that you’ve been covering this very closely, a House panel held a hearing on Planned Parenthood in April. How many congressional hearings have been held so far on this matter, and how many others are scheduled in the future months?
ARINA GROSSU: This one is the second congressional hearing the investigative panel has put on. We don’t know how many are scheduled, but this is an ongoing investigation, and so what is happening is, as the panel needs more information, they are subpoenaing different companies. For example, they’ve already subpoenaed Stem Express and Planned Parenthood. Stem Express has handed over some of their documents, but not all of them. So just the investigative panel actually subpoenaed the two financial companies that work for Stem Express. They’ve subpoenaed Cinto Group and Five Star Bank Corp for documents, including invoices, balances, and they have a deadline to get those to the investigative panel. And so this is an ongoing investigation, and as they gather more information they’re going to get witnesses together and do other hearings.
JOHN RUSTIN: Tell us about this most recent hearing and what happened.
ARINA GROSSU: This hearing was to show what they have discovered so far, which are order forms, purchase orders, emails with body-part orders, invoices, and instructions for procurement technicians as to which parts of the baby they should collect. And these are all primary source documents that were in the exhibits. And so they had a number of different witnesses on the panel, including three former US prosecutors, to talk about whether or not this is enough evidence to launch a federal investigation into the practices of the abortion industry and of the biotech industry. They have found that there is sufficient evidence to launch this federal investigation.
JOHN RUSTIN: I think it’s important for our listeners to understand and remember that there are federal laws that prohibit abortion doctors from changing an abortion procedure in order to more effectively harvest parts from aborted children, and also [that prohibit] abortion clinics from selling aborted baby parts for profit. Is that correct?
ARINA GROSSU: That’s correct. And actually what this hearing also discovered that the overhead cost for the baby body part procurement is actually done through the biotech companies, so Stem Express and other biotech companies, and they bear the cost of this, not the abortion centers. Which means that any money that goes to the abortion centers reflects profit because none of those costs are taken on by the abortion centers themselves. They hire these technicians and they step foot in these abortion centers as part of the biotech companies skill. And then you see from these orders, that they have orders for 18 to 19 week old babies with their limbs, with their heads attached, and purchase orders coming up to $42,000. So here are the actual orders that they have found through the subpoenas, and so it begs the question. “Why is there such an exchange of money for baby brains, livers, hearts etc?”
JOHN RUSTIN: This is just incredible to even be having this discussion! I pray that we don’t get desensitized to it because it is so gruesome and so horrible what has been taking place. Now, I think it’s really significant that there were former U.S. prosecutors testified at this recent hearing. Talk a little bit more about the specifics of their testimony, and were there other major pieces of information that they provided for the investigation committee?
ARINA GROSSU: One of the prosecutors is Brian London, and he was a federal prosecutor, and he said they could establish probable cause that both abortion facilities and the procurement business violated the statute against the sale of body parts. And he said, “In my opinion, assuming the validity and the admissibility of the exhibits provided to me, there is sufficient evidence to launch a federal grand jury investigation targeting the abortion clinics and the procurement business identified.” The same thing from Michael Norton, who was one of the other witnesses who was a former U.S. attorney from Colorado, and he said “There has been profiteering at multiple levels in this grisly business, in my opinion there’s probable cause.” And so he also said that and that it will be well served to have an aggressive investigation. And Kenneth Zukia, who is also a former US attorney from Florida, also said there’s sufficient cause to support a full investigation by federal authorities. And so we have these prosecutors who look at the exhibits, and said “Yes, this must continue. And we need to get to the bottom of this, because if this is happening in our nation, can we all agree this is against the law, that we should find what is happening and that there should be more investigations to find our what is happening to see what extent these abortion centers and biotech companies are violating the statute and basically doing illegal activities.
JOHN RUSTIN: Arina, during the hearing, as I understand it, it was also revealed that Stem Express, which is one of the fetal tissue procurement companies, worked with over 100 abortion clinics nationwide. Why is this significant to the investigation?
ARINA GROSSU: There are about 500 surgical abortion centers in the U.S. These are surgical, meaning they’re not medication abortions, they’re not the RU-486. And usually when they try to get body parts, it’s from a surgical abortion center, not a medical abortion center. If StemExpress, as has been shown through their documents, has worked with 100 of the 500 surgical abortion centers, they’re working with about one-fifth of the surgical abortion industry in the U.S., and in 2016 they were slated to work with half—with 50 percent of all surgical centers in the nation. When the videos came out, this stopped a lot of their activities, but this is what they were projected to do with their contracts. So, we see that what David Daleiden showed was just a tip of the iceberg. The fact that it was only one company that was working with a fifth of all the surgical abortion centers tells you how involved and active they were in this grisly business of obtaining baby body parts to resell to universities and tech labs.
JOHN RUSTIN: Arina, based on the testimony that has been offered in the past, and also in this most recent hearing of the testimony of these former U.S. prosecutors and others, where do you believe the investigation of Planned Parenthood will go from here in the context of our members of Congress?
ARINA GROSSU: I think that the investigative panel is going to issue subpoenas; they’re going to continue to call hearings. We have to do our part to let our friends and family, anyone we can, let them know that this investigation is ongoing, and that there is a lot of evidence out there showing the fact that Planned Parenthood, StemExpress, and other biotech companies and abortion facilities have been doing this, and continue to do so. We are going to continue to just reveal all the information that they have collected and are continuing to collect on this case.
JOHN RUSTIN: Thank you for doing that. Now we’ve already talked about David Daleiden a little bit, but I want to talk a little bit more about him and kind of give our listeners a status update. David Daleiden was a pro-life journalist who started this whole thing. Tell us about the latest in his case. Has he so far spent any time in jail? What’s next for David Daleiden?
ARINA GROSSU: There are two major lawsuits, one in California, one in Texas, and just on May 5, Life Legal Defense Foundation, which represents David, filed a motion to protect his freedom of speech in California. As some of your listeners may be aware, his apartment was raided and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit trying to silence and punish David for gathering information about Planned Parenthood’s industry. In terms of Texas, he posted bail a couple of months ago, and he turned down a plea deal, and his attorneys and supporters went to the Harris County District Attorney’s office, and basically said that Devon Anderson is biased because of her own association with an attorney for an abortion practitioner. So, there is definitely a link to the abortion industry in Texas. They filed a motion there to overturn the criminal indictment that would dismiss the charges filed against David. So, we’re going to see what’s happening with that, both have been filed in both Texas and California, and we’re gonna keep on tracking that and following David.
JOHN RUSTIN: We’ll be watching that very closely too, and thanks for those updates. Before you go, tell our listeners some ways that they can help keep this issue alive. How can our listeners encourage friends, family and others to to stay involved in this issue, and to keep the issue alive? And also [how can they help] to encourage the federal government, or members of Congress and others to crack down on these atrocious activities perpetrated by Planned Parenthood.
ARINA GROSSU: One of the ways they can be involved is to be educated on what the investigative panel has found already, and so they would be well served to visit the investigative panel’s website. And so you can access that information on the Energy and Commerce Committee website if you look up selective investigative panel, which is found here. Anyone who wants to blow the whistle on the abortion industry and has more information about the sale of fetal body parts, or knows abortionists who’ve been involved and can talk about it, please write into this comment box because it’ll help this investigative panel as they continue to do their research. Also we at FRC provided some research for them, so they can go to www.frc.org/plannedparenthoodinvestigation to find that information.
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