Ducey Orders Investigation into Planned Parenthood Arizona

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In light of the controversy over Planned Parenthood’s donation of fetal tissue and organs to medical researchers, Gov. Doug Ducey is ordering an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood Arizona participates in such a program.

Ducey said that footage from a recent video about the use of fetal tissue for research is “horrifying and has no place in a civilized society.”

He has ordered the Department of Health Services to look into whether the sale of fetal tissue is occurring with Planned Parenthood Arizona clinics and to “immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.”

Federal law prohibits the sale of fetal tissue, but women can agree to donate their fetal tissue to medical research. Arizona law goes further in prohibiting the use of any fetal tissue in research, with very narrow exemptions.

Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, says that his organization “does not have a fetal tissue donation program, however we applaud those who offer tissue donation at any time of their lives to improve medical science. We support fetal tissue donation, and have never supported the sale of fetal tissue, and claims otherwise made on the basis of a deceptively edited video are simply not true. As with all proposed health care laws and regulations, we will review any changes proposed by the Department to ensure they do not restrict access to the sexual and reproductive health services Arizona women and families need and want.”

The latest controversy erupted after the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress secretly taped Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, talking about the fetal-tissue donation program. Fetal tissue can be used in research into cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease. You can find details about that here.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said last week that Planned Parenthood does not profit from the donation program but apologized for Nucatola's tone in the undercover video.

"Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide," Richards said. "In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member's tone and statements."

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