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October 14, 2015

Planned Parenthood to Forgo Reimbursement for Fetal Tissue

Planned Parenthood said Tuesday it would no longer accept repayment for its expenses in providing fetal tissue to medical researchers, The New York Times reports. The move is aimed at addressing controversy over the nonprofit's tissue program, which anti-abortion activists and conservative Republicans claim illegally yields profits for the group.

Planned Parenthood has consistently denied the allegation, saying it donates the tissue and only sought reimbursement for costs such as storage and transport, as allowed by federal law. "We are not going to stand around getting flogged with [a] false accusation for something that's never been our motivation to participate in tissue donation," said Dawn Laguens, the organization's executive vice president.

Two of Planned Parenthood's approximately 700 clinics nationwide supply fetal tissue to researchers, and only one was being reimbursed, Planned Parenthood said. Undercover videos showing officials with the group discussing the tissue program have spawned multiple congressional investigations and a move to strip Planned Parenthood's federal funding for providing non-abortion health services.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, whose Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting one of the probes, said the policy change is "helpful" but does not address why Planned Parenthood "needs a subsidy from the American taxpayer."