No matter what, we must always stand up for life

Published 5:09 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

As the proud father of four children (and a new grandfather), I have great appreciation for the value of a human life. Every child deserves the opportunity to live a long and prosperous life.

That’s why I was so angered by a recent video in which abortion doctors from Planned Parenthood talked casually about harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies.

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In one video, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services talks about how she “crushes” babies in certain ways in order to preserve organs that can then be sold. She mentions how some body parts are worth more money than others. She talks about these distressing topics while casually enjoying her lunch.

Just last week, another video was released. In this video, a different Planned Parenthood official discussed the various price options for which the organization would sell fetal body parts. When asked if the price was too low, the Planned Parenthood official responded by saying that she wanted to be able to buy “a Lamborghini.”
Let’s be clear: the loss of any human life is a tragedy.

Even worse, the casual nature in which the Planned Parenthood officials talk about taking a human life is heartbreaking and appalling. As a parent, but more importantly as an American, these videos make my blood boil.

This is not only an emotional debate. In fact, there are also serious legal questions surrounding Planned Parenthood’s actions. Section 42 U.S.C. 289g-2(a) of the federal code makes it unlawful for any person “to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” In other words, it is against the law to buy or sell fetal tissue in an effort to make a profit.

Congress cannot simply sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to respond. These egregious actions require a response, and I believe Congress should act swiftly to prevent this kind of behavior from occurring in the future.

Planned Parenthood receives far too much money from the federal government. Already this year, Planned Parenthood has received almost $46 million in federal grants. Since 2012, Planned Parenthood has banked over $200 million in federal funding.

With that in mind, I co-sponsored important legislation designed to eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015. This bill would place a moratorium on all sources of federal funding to Planned Parenthood, including federal grants.

I do not think we should stop with just Planned Parenthood though. That’s why earlier this year I voted for H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act of 2015. This straightforward bill would prohibit federal funding from being used for abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is at risk.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee have already launched investigations into Planned Parenthood, and I applaud them for wasting no time in getting to the bottom of this situation.

Congress should not be the only ones launching an investigation. I recently signed a letter to the Justice Department calling for a full federal investigation into Planned Parenthood as it relates to the harvesting and selling of fetal body parts. If the law was broken, then those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

You can rest assured that I am going to continue to look into this situation and support pro-life policies during my time in Congress. Every single life is precious and worth the fight.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.