The FBI has reportedly requested unredacted documents obtained by the Senate from abortion providers, signaling that the agency may be conducting an investigation on Planned Parenthood over its alleged involvement in trafficking aborted baby parts.
According to The Hill, the FBI's request was recently made to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI for investigation last December following a probe on fetal tissue sales.
Grassley said at the time that there was enough evidence in the committee's final investigative report to show that abortion providers had transferred aborted baby parts to firms for use in research by charging amounts above their actual costs.
The Senate and the House launched separate probes on baby parts trafficking after the Center for Medical Progress started releasing a series of undercover videos in 2015, showing abortion providers and fetal tissue firms discussing how they took money for aborted fetuses.
The report by the Senate committee noted that the prices paid for fetal tissue and body parts exceeded the actual costs, some of which were only calculated after investigators started asking questions.
A document from one firm showed that it had paid $60 for an aborted fetus from a Planned Parenthood clinic, then transferred the various parts, including the brain, part of a liver and two eyes, for $2,275. The Senate report further noted that the firm also charged additional fees for shipping and disease screening.
The Hill's sources said that Grassley's staff are now working to comply with the FBI's document request.
Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, hailed the FBI's document request saying, "We, of course, applaud any action taken to follow the evidence to where it leads and to hold Planned Parenthood accountable."
"The only thing that could hinder this investigation from leading to indictments of Planned Parenthood and the companies involved in the sale of fetal body parts is politics," she added.
Grassley had written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-FBI Director James Comey earlier this year, demanding answers as to why the referral to investigate Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had not been answered. The senator also complained about the failure of the Department of Justice to enforce the law that prohibits the buying and selling of fetal tissue.
He received a response to his request in July, with Assistant Director for the Office of Congressional Affairs Gregory Brower saying, "We can confirm the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of FBI Headquarters received your referrals and sent them to the relevant FBI field offices for review and whatever action is deemed appropriate."