One of the pro-life movement’s best friends is taking hostile fire right now.
For saying nothing but what ultra-pro-abortion Henry Waxman was saying sixteen years ago!
Marsha Blackburn, who represents the 7th Congressional District of Tennessee, chairs the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which is delving deeply into allegations of trafficking in fetal organs harvested from abortions. Planned Parenthood and its minions are going after her in a big way.
Blackburn is soft-spoken and ladylike—and a real steel magnolia. But even steel magnolias can get discouraged if they don’t hear from friends when they’re under fire.
On Feb. 20, the Washington Post lambasted Blackburn in an editorial headlined “The Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt.” This came after several consecutive days of news stories laced with nastygrams from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the Select Panel’s ranking Democrat.
Just so you know what kind of people Blackburn is up against: Schakowsky’s community organizer/lobbyist/leftwing strategist husband, Robert Creamer, actually served time in federal prison for financial shenanigans involving an organization he founded, Illinois Citizen Action—but not before he gave Chicago’s now-mayor—and Barack Obama best-friend—Rahm Emmanuel and other progressives their start in politics. A Saul Alinsky acolyte and member of Democracy Partners, Creamer is a field organizer and propagandist for Obama and the ultra-left.
And his wife is seeking to undermine Marsha Blackburn with a vengeance.
The Post editorial reports that the Select Panel sent out requests for financial information and records “from more than 30 agencies and organizations that provide abortions or are involved in fetal tissue research.” According to Blackburn, who had hoped “these organizations would voluntarily work with us,” some of them “have refused to cooperate by withholding information that is critical to providing us with answers to questions the American people are asking.”
With only a year to accomplish its work, Blackburn announced on Feb. 16 that the Select Panel would subpoena “any organization that refuses to fully cooperate with our investigation.” Three organizations have since been subpoenaed: Southwestern Women’s Options, a New Mexico clinic that performs late-term abortions; Stem Express, one of country’s biggest purchasers of baby parts; and the University of New Mexico, where medical research using fetal tissue is conducted.
Schakowsky called the action “a new low in the Republicans’ attack on women’s health care.”
This industry cropped up when nobody was watching. The pro-choice lobby is not known for its libertarian tendencies, so it’s more than a little disingenuous for a confirmed lefty like Schakowsky to pretend she doesn’t approve of government oversight of financial compliance with government regulation.
Of course the House Select Panel has a right to know more about the finances and practices of an industry that utilizes the end products of abortion.
It was in 1973 that Congress forbade trafficking in fetal tissue for profit. It is a legitimate Congressional responsibility to find out what’s been going on in fetal-tissue research in the meantime.
The last Congressional oversight was in 2000, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings.
Around that time, then-Congressman Henry Waxman delivered the memorable line: “It would be abhorrent to allow for the sale of fetal tissue and a market to be created for that sale.” He also said that companies that sell fetal tissue “should be prosecuted. Any price is unreasonable and illegal.” Since Waxman was one of the most pro-abortion Members of Congress, it’s probably safe to surmise that trafficking in fetal tissue wasn’t an income stream for the abortion industry at that time. The Abortion Industrial Complex didn’t feel threatened in 2000 by a hearing on fetal tissue sales.
But the worm has turned. Clearly, big money is involved today. Politifact reports that Stem Express charges $24,000 for a vial of fetal liver cells.
With prices like that, Congress is obligated to ask whether the price is, in the words of the governing legislation, a “reasonable payment associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.”
In order to answer the question, Congress must review financial records from the companies in the business. When companies don’t voluntarily provide the financial records, subpoenas are issued. This is standard procedure for any investigation.
Doth Schakowsky protest too much? Blackburn hasn’t mentioned lawbreaking, she’s just asking for information.
Maybe Schakowsky fears that enough was seen and heard in the Center for Medical Progress videos to create a reasonable suspicion of law-breaking. After all, if those videos had exposed questionable practices in coal mines, Congress would have been all over the topic a year ago.
Perhaps Congress will find that no lawbreaking occurred. Perhaps the Select Panel will merely recommend changes in law or regulation as a result of its findings.
Schakowsky promised that Democrats will soon request their own information on how fetal tissue has benefitted medical research. Blackburn is a step ahead. On Thursday, she announced that the Select Panel will hold a hearing on March 2 on Bioethics and Fetal Tissue.
Good for her. We are talking about human remains, after all. Unwanted by their mothers, perhaps, and not full persons under the law—but babies in everybody else’s minds, whether Planned Parenthood likes it or not.
It is hard to maintain that human remains don’t deserve any respect.
It is hard to pretend that an investigation is not needed. If you agree, send Marsha Blackburn a word of encouragement here.
After all, what is the Select Panel seeking to ensure other than what Henry Waxman was asking for sixteen years ago?
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Connie Marshner is a commentator and researcher on life and family issues in the Washington, D.C., area.