Missouri Attorney General Finds No Evidence Planned Parenthood Mishandled Fetal Tissue

The investigation found that all tissue from abortions was examined at a pathology lab then incinerated.

Sept 28 (Reuters) - An investigation in Missouri found no evidence that Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic mishandled fetal tissue or engaged in unlawful activity, Attorney General Chris Koster's office said on Monday.

Koster, a Democrat, launched the investigation after an anti-abortion group released videos in July alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue in other states. Officials in other states also launched investigations.

The Center for Medical Progress, which released the secretly recorded videos, said they showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said the videos were distorted with deceptive edits and has denied that it has improperly used fetal tissue from abortions.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress tried and failed this month to strip federal money for Planned Parenthood in a government funding bill.

Koster said interviews with workers and a review of documents supported that Planned Parenthood handled fetal tissue in accordance with Missouri law at its St. Louis facility, which is the only licensed surgical abortion facility in the state.

"We have discovered no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Planned Parenthood's St. Louis facility is selling fetal tissue," he said in a news release.

In South Carolina, state health officials allowed two abortion clinics that were to be suspended on Monday to continue operating. The clinics paid fines and submitted plans to correct violations found in an investigation that Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, had ordered following the release of the videos.

The suspension of a Planned Parenthood-operated clinic was delayed pending a final review, and that of a clinic not affiliated with the organization was lifted.

Officials in Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have targeted Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, which covers non-abortion preventive services such as birth control and screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

Wisconsin representatives last week advanced a bill to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning money in the state. The bill needs state Senate approval and the governor's signature to become law.

A Quinnipiac University national opinion poll released on Monday found 52 percent of responding voters opposed to cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and 41 percent supporting the move.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,574 registered voters nationwide from Sept. 17 to 21. The poll had a 2.5 percentage point margin of error. (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, David Bailey in Minneapolis and Harriet McLeod in Charleston, South Carolina; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Mohammad Zargham)


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