Planned Parenthood broke no abortion laws, Indiana officials say

An investigation into Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions in Indiana found no evidence of wrongdoing, state health officials said Thursday. 

Laura Buckman/Star-Telegram via AP/File
Catholic protesters stage an anti-abortion rally outside of Planned Parenthood in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Indiana state health officials on Thursday said Planned Parenthood facilities in the state complied with abortion regulations.

Indiana on Thursday cleared Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions in the state of any wrongdoing in the handling of fetal tissue.

Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, on July 16 ordered an investigation of Planned Parenthood facilities in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville to see if organs from aborted fetuses were being sold. He was among a number of conservative lawmakers around the country who have called for investigations after an anti-abortion group circulated a video it made secretly showing some of its national officials discussing how they obtain organs from aborted fetuses for research. Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions, has said its donations of fetal tissue for research are legal.

The Indiana Department of Health said in a statement Thursday that an investigation found no evidence of any laws being broken. Health department inspectors investigated the Indiana facilities on July 21.

Letters from the health department to the three Indiana facilities dated Tuesday and released to the media by Planned Parenthood said the agency had completed its investigation into the Planned Parenthood facilities that perform abortions in Indiana. The letters said the agency was "unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited." The letters say the complaint is closed.

The state has the authority to license and regulate abortion clinics and to inspect them, the Health Department said. Federal law prohibits the buying and selling of human body parts or trafficking in tissue from an aborted fetus.

"We are pleased this unfounded complaint is resolved," said Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

She said the Indiana facilities don't participate in tissue donations.

Planned Parenthood, which gets more than $500 million of its $1.3 billion annual budget from federal and state programs, has been under fire since the release of videos by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral.

Planned Parenthood has asked the government's top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

Cockrum said Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky holds "compliance with all laws and regulations as an imperative."

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