Brownback calls for probe of abortion clinics; Planned Parenthood calls request ‘political grandstanding’

? Following the release of “sting” videos showing Planned Parenthood officials candidly talking about selling fetal tissue and organs left over from abortions, Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday called on the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to investigate whether any abortion clinics in Kansas are engaged in that practice — a request that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri decried.

“Kansas remains committed to a culture that respects the dignity of life at all stages,” Brownback said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “Recent videos show Planned Parenthood employees treating the unborn as commodities as they discuss the sale of tissue and organs. This does not reflect the culture of life most Kansans want.”

The videos were released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. One released earlier in the day depicts a conversation between Mary Gatter, medical director for a Planned Parenthood clinic in California, and people it describes as “actors posing as buyers.” The video appears to show them negotiating over the prices for tissue and organs.

An earlier video by the same organization was released July 14.

Officials from Planned Parenthood described that first video as heavily edited and described the Center for Medical Progress as “anti-abortion activists with a long record of deceiving the public.”

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri said it does not engage in the practices Brownback described and called Brownback’s request for a probe “political grandstanding” and an attempt to “restrict access to safe, legal abortion in Kansas.” The organization said it would cooperate fully with any investigation.

“These political attacks claiming that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation or illegal activity are simply not true,” said Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, in a news release. “Some Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country have programs for women and families who want to donate tissue to leading research institutions that will use it to help find treatment and cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Our affiliate does not have or participate in tissue donation programs.”

During the recent legislative session, Brownback signed a bill banning an abortion procedure known as dilation and extraction, or D&E, a procedure that anti-abortion groups have dubbed “dismemberment abortion.”

Brownback referenced that new law in his statement Tuesday.

Brownback called on the Board of Healing Arts to conduct an investigation as part of its inspections of office-based surgical centers. He also called on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to cooperate in the probe.