By Judy L. Thomas
Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday called for an investigation into whether any Kansas facility is selling remains of aborted fetuses.
Some Missouri officials also called for investigations.
In a news release, Brownback called on the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to determine whether facilities that perform abortions were "engaged in the inhumane practice of selling tissue and organs from unborn children who are aborted."
The action came after the release of two undercover videos that depicted conversations with Planned Parenthood employees. The videos -- one made public last week and another on Tuesday -- have raised questions about whether Planned Parenthood's practices have violated state law regarding the extraction and disposal of fetal organs and tissue.
"Kansas remains committed to a culture that respects the dignity of life at all stages," Brownback said. "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."
He said the Kansas Board of Healing Arts should address the issue in its inspections of Kansas clinics.
Brownback joined a growing list of state officials and politicians calling for investigations since the videos were made public by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group.
The first video, released last week, depicts a Planned Parenthood executive discussing fetal tissue donation over a salad and a glass of wine with someone posing as a representative from a biotech company. The second shows another Planned Parenthood employee discussing prices for specimens.
The Center for Medical Progress says the videos prove that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. But Planned Parenthood Federation of America says the videos are fraudulent and heavily edited, and it denies that the organization sells fetal tissues and organs. But its president, Cecile Richards, apologized for what she called a lack of compassion by the doctor who was speaking in the video released last week.
At least eight states, congressional leaders and numerous Republican presidential hopefuls have now called for investigations into whether Planned Parenthood clinics have violated laws that prohibit the sale of aborted fetal tissue and organs.
On Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that his office also had opened an investigation.
"The videos raised questions about Planned Parenthood's practices regarding the extraction and disposal of fetal organs and whether the clinics offer patients adequate, accurate information about these procedures," Koster said.
"Regardless of whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, the questions raised by these videos require careful review," he said.
Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said Tuesday that neither affiliate in Overland Park nor St. Louis has a tissue donation program. She added, however, that "we understand the value and importance, and we support the affiliates that do provide tissue."
(c)2015 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)