Indiana’s Investigation of Planned Parenthood Comes Up Empty

No state investigation to date has found that Planned Parenthood has violated any law regarding the handling of fetal tissue.

No state investigation to date has found that Planned Parenthood has violated any law regarding the handling of fetal tissue. Shutterstock

See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.

An Indiana State Department of Health investigation into Planned Parenthood-affiliated reproductive health-care clinics in the state found them in compliance with the state’s fetal tissue regulations.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky operates three clinics that provide surgical abortion care in Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Merrillville. All of the clinics were found to be in compliance with state regulations and were not cited for any deficiencies, according to documents released by Planned Parenthood.

“The investigation has concluded there was no evidence of this type of activity at these sites,” the Indiana State Department of Health said in a statement, reported the Indianapolis Star. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky does not participate in fetal tissued donation programs.

The investigations into all three clinics were completed on July 21, and the complaint was closed as of that date.

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement that she was pleased that the issue was resolved.

“As we’ve said all along, PPINK doesn’t participate in a tissue donation program. We hold compliance with all laws and regulations as an imperative,” Cockrum said. “We’re not surprised the surveyors found the claims unsubstantiated. Perhaps now Indiana’s executive leadership will focus on measures such as teen pregnancy prevention and reducing the cycle of poverty to truly advance the dream of thriving Hoosier families.”

Gov. Mike Pence (R) directed the Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood on July 16, after an undercover, heavily edited video was published by an anti-choice front group that claimed the footage proved Planned Parenthood was illegally selling tissue from aborted fetus.

“Under federal and state law, the buying or selling of human body parts is a felony and, as Governor, I have an obligation to make sure this is not happening in Indiana,” Pence said in a statement. “Whatever one’s view on the issue of abortion, Hoosiers can be assured that we will make certain that this appalling practice is not taking place in Indiana.”

The videos were produced and published by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice organization behind a series of videos seeking to defame Planned Parenthood. The organization has been praised by anti-choice activists and Republican politicians, but questions have been raised about CMP’s deceptive tactics, ideological agenda, and connections to radical and violent anti-choice activists.

Indiana has been hostile towards reproductive rights under Pence and the Republican-controlled state legislature. Several anti-choice bills have been introduced and passed into law in recent years, and this year Pence signed a bill into law creating more burdensome regulations for abortion clinics.

Since ordering the investigation, Pence gave public statements and interviews hyping the investigation, in addition to publishing multiple tweets on the matter. Pence published a tweet promoting the investigation Wednesday, a day after Planned Parenthood had received documentation that the Department of Health found no violations of the law.

The virulently anti-choice governor gave a statement Friday praising the speed of the investigation.

“I thought it was altogether appropriate for the Indiana State Department of Health to publish the results of that inquiry and move forward,” Pence said, reported the Indianapolis Star. “I’m pleased with the swift and professional manner that the Indiana State Department of Health went about this investigation and Hoosiers can be assured that we’ll continue to see to it that our laws in this area are strictly enforced.”

Republican lawmakers in several states have called for investigations into Planned Parenthood, and lawmakers across the country have compared the organization to everything from drug dealers to Nazis. State lawmakers in Texas held a hearing Wednesday to investigate the issue, even though, like those in Indiana, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas don’t collect fetal tissue for donation in medical research.

As Congress is set to vote on Monday on a proposal by Republican lawmakers to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding, no state or federal investigation to date has found the organization has violated any law regarding the handling of fetal tissue.