The Department of Justice (DOJ) has started investigating Planned Parenthood’s practices and the sale of fetal tissue, according to Fox News.
Fox News on Thursday reported that Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd formally requested documents on the matter.
Boyd asked the Senate Judiciary Committee for the unredacted materials, the same panel that conducted the congressional probe into the women’s health organization.
“The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available,” he wrote in a letter to the panel.
“At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only – we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the Department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury,” Boyd added.
The letter – which was sent to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Thursday – is a rare confirmation by the DOJ of a federal probe.
Grassley is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman, while Feinstein is the panel’s ranking member.
The now-federal investigation follows a 2015 undercover probe by activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.
The pair posed as fetal researchers and recorded undercover video of themselves attempting to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.
Daleiden is the leader of the Center for Medical Process, while Merritt is an employee for the pro-life organization.
The duo’s recorded conversations included Planned Parenthood officials and StemExpress, a California company.
StemExpress provides blood, tissue and other biological material for medical research, and the business has also received fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood at the time fiercely rejected allegations that it violated the law or acted unethically.
The federal probe by President Trump’s administration will reignite debate on whether Planned Parenthood and other health providers broke the law by illegally selling body parts.