The FBI might be investigating whether Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers illegally sold fetal tissue and body parts, The Hill reported Monday.
The outlet said the FBI has asked for un-redacted documents given to the Senate Judiciary Committee during its own investigation, after which chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI for an inquiry.
Grassley said at the time his panel uncovered evidence abortion providers had transferred fetal tissue and body parts for use in research at a profit, which is illegal.
A possible federal criminal investigation would mark a major escalation in a controversy ignited by provocative undercover videotapes released in 2015 by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress purportedly showing the for-profit sale of fetal parts and tissue.
Planned Parenthood told The Hill it has not had any contact with the FBI, and said it provided more than 30,000 pages of documents and several witnesses to the congressional probes and believes it has complied with the law.
"These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive healthcare at Planned Parenthood," Dana Singiser, Vice President of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The Hill.
The Center's head, David Daleiden, told The Hill an FBI investigation is "long overdue" and the "sale of aborted baby body parts is the greatest human atrocity of our times and must finally be brought to justice under the law."
Two Center executives were charged with state privacy violations for making the undercover tapes; the charges were dropped in Texas but remain pending in California, where they are being appealed, The Hill reported.
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