November 18, 2015 — Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) on Monday announced that an investigation into Planned Parenthood clinics found no evidence that the organization broke any laws prohibiting certain types of abortion procedures or the sale of fetal tissue, The Hill reports.
According to The Hill, the findings are particularly significant because Washington state is one of two states that permits fetal tissue donations for medical research purposes (Ferris, The Hill, 11/16).
Several states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood following the release of misleading videos targeting the organization.
The videos, which depict Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation, were released by an antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities. The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/3). Planned Parenthood announced last month that while it will maintain fetal tissue donation programs at some clinics, it no longer will accept reimbursements for the cost of the program (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/14).
Other states that have launched investigations include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/3). According to The Hill, "More than a dozen other states" that have concluded investigations into the organization have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Washington Planned Parenthood Affiliates Cleared
Ferguson in his report wrote that there was no evidence of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Washington state performing prohibited abortion procedures or selling fetal tissue. He wrote, "We found no indication that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are anything other than performance of a legally authorized medical procedure."
As part of the investigation, Ferguson obtained the consent form that Planned Parenthood provides women who wish to participate in fetal tissue donation. According to The Hill, the form clearly states that the tissue is used solely for research and educational purposes and is "never used for commercial purposes" (The Hill, 11/16).