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Rick Scott calls for investigation of Planned Parenthood offices in Florida

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he has asked the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to immediately begin investigating the 16 Planned Parenthood offices in Florida that perform abortion procedures to ensure they are in full compliance with the law. His statement is in reaction to undercover videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue raise questions about the process nationwide.

“The videos coming out about Planned Parenthood are deeply troubling to say the least,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “It is against the law for any organization to sell body parts.”

In a statement after the videos surfaced, Planned Parenthood officials said some women who have abortions choose to donate tissue for scientific research, and that there is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood. And they claim that the organization that made the incriminating videos, the Center for Medical Progress used “heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation.”

Scott said he has asked AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek to begin the probe immediately. “If a Planned Parenthood office is not following the law, we will move quickly to take legal and regulatory action against them,” he said. “We hold our healthcare organizations in Florida to the highest standards of safety and we expect them to fully comply with the law at all times.”

Republicans have seized on the videos to call again for the organization to have their federal funding cut. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Wednesday that the Senate could vote as early as Monday on legislation that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood and redirect the funding to other women’s health groups.

In a statement,  Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Executive Director Laura Goodhue said:

“These political attacks claiming that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation are simply not true. While we do not have donations programs in Florida, some Planned Parenthood organizations in other states do, and they follow all laws and ethical guidelines. We always seek and welcome feedback from medical experts, but not from politicians. “We will, of course, cooperate fully with any investigation, but important medical issues shouldn’t be politicized. This isn’t what people in our state want our elected officials to spend their time doing.”
Earlier this week, Florida Politics asked Tampa Bay Area U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor about rumors that some GOP lawmakers in Florida were calling for such an investigation.

“I think this controversy is largely manufactured by folks who do not like it,” she said, referring to Planned Parenthood. “The fact is other people get solid medical care from Planned Parenthood. They trust Planned Parenthood. So I’d be surprised if it goes anywhere.”

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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