Saturday, March 05, 2016

Abortion Witch Hunt

By AMANDA ROBB, NYT, MARCH 4, 2016

LAST month, Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, in her capacity as chairwoman of the newly created House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, issued subpoenas to three organizations: StemExpress, a company that supplies biological specimens for research; the University of New Mexico, where scientists conduct medical research using fetal tissue; and Southwestern Women’s Options, an abortion clinic in Albuquerque.

In addition to requiring these groups to produce exhaustive documentation about how exactly they procure and handle fetal tissue, the subpoenas demand that the organizations identify personnel, including medical students, who were in proximity to abortions and their aftermath. Despite objections from the panel’s minority members, Ms. Blackburn is insisting that the subpoenas’ targets name names.

House committee leaders have rarely issued unilateral subpoenas. In the last 50 years it appears that only the Republicans Dan Burton of Indiana and Darrell Issa of California used them, each as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. Both men created divisive and ultimately unproductive investigations. Despite the poor example these investigations set, House Republicans recently moved to grant at least seven congressional leaders the power to issue subpoenas unilaterally.

In issuing the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ subpoenas, Ms. Blackburn claims to be motivated to “get the facts about medical practices of abortion service providers and the business practices of the procurement organizations who sell baby body parts.” But the surreptitiously recorded videos made by anti-abortion activists that accused abortion providers of selling baby body parts have been found to be deceptively edited and essentially fraudulent.

(More here.)

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