An investigation in Missouri found no evidence that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic mishandled fetal tissue or engaged in unlawful activity, Attorney General Chris Koster’s office said on Monday.
Koster, a Democrat, launched the investigation after an anti-abortion group released videos over the summer alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue in other states. Officials in other states also have launched investigations.
The announcement came as a Quinnipiac University national opinion poll released on Monday found 52 per cent of responding voters opposed to cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and 41 per cent supporting the move.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,574 registered voters nationwide from Sept. 17 to 21 and the poll had a 2.5 percentage point margin of error.
The secretly recorded videos released by an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, allege that Planned Parenthood sold aborted fetal tissue, which is barred. The women’s healthcare provider has said the videos are deliberately distorted with deceptive edits and denies allegations it has improperly used fetal tissue from abortions.
Republicans in the U.S. Congress tried and failed this month to strip federal money for Planned Parenthood in a government funding bill.
Koster said the evidence reviewed supported that Planned Parenthood handled fetal tissue in accordance with Missouri law at its St. Louis facility, which is the only licensed surgical abortion facility in the state.
“We have discovered no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility is selling fetal tissue,” Koster said in a news release.
The attorney general’s office interviewed workers at the facility and reviewed documents from all 317 abortions during a 30-day audit, finding that all tissue from abortions was examined at a pathology lab and incinerated, the statement said.
Officials in Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have targeted Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, which covers non-abortion preventive services such as birth control and screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
Wisconsin representatives last week advanced a bill to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning money in the state. The bill needs state Senate approval and the governor’s signature to become law.
(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago and David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Mohammad Zargham)
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