House panel holds fetal tissue firm in contempt, Dems walk
Posted September 21
WASHINGTON — A Republican-run House committee voted along party lines Wednesday to hold a company that provides researchers with fetal tissue in contempt of Congress.
Republicans say StemExpress has not produced all the documents they want. Democrats say the GOP is harassing the California-based company and trying to discourage fetal research.
Democrats walked out of the meeting before the 8-0 vote. They say the committee lacks the authority to take such action.
The special House committee was created last year following a conservative uproar after secretly recorded tapes showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about the tissue they sometimes provide to researchers.
It is illegal to profit from the sale of fetal parts. It is legal for an organization providing the tissue to recover its expenses.
Planned Parenthood has said it has broken no laws. Previous congressional investigations and probes by several states have produced no evidence that it acted illegally.
The House panel is headed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who said: "Nine months is enough time for an entity to produce accounting documents."
The committee's top Democrat, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, has called the GOP probe a "partisan attack on health care and life-saving research."