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Planned Parenthood says it will no longer accept reimbursement for providing fetal tissue to researchers. The move is an effort to debunk accusations and sting videos, and on Capitol Hill, that the organization illegally profits from the practice. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.
JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Planned Parenthood is quick to point out reimbursements for the cost of providing fetal tissue are legal. Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens says she's not suggesting other providers stop collecting such fees. But in a letter to the National Institutes of Health this morning, Planned Parenthood says opponents have been citing the fees to advance their cause.
DAWN LAGUENS: This will enable us to blow away the smoke screen of these attacks and reveal their true agenda, which is taking away safe, legal abortion in this country.
LUDDEN: Laguens says the move will affect affiliates in California and Oregon. The only other affiliate that provides tissue, in Washington state, already does not collect reimbursement.
It's not clear how much money's at stake. Laguens says it's small and it varies depending on what research projects are taking place. But, she says, Planned Parenthood will not stop providing fetal tissue.
LAGUENS: It has always only been about one thing - honoring the desire of women who want to contribute to life-saving research.
LUDDEN: Reaction from abortion opponents was skeptical. David Daleiden, who produced a series of undercover sting videos, calls the move a PR stunt that amounts to an admission of guilt. In a statement, the head of the House Oversight Committee says, ending reimbursement fees is a good, tangible result of investigations by now five different committees. But, he says, those wide-ranging probes will continue, as will efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Tennessee Republican Diane Black says if the group really wants to confront its scandal, it should stop performing abortions. Jennifer Ludden, NPR News, Washington.
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