AURORA, Ill. — At 320 clinics across the country, thousands turned out in protest and in prayer. Their hope is that Planned Parenthood, which conducts 300 thousand abortions annually, will lose its federal funding in the wake of a series of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the potential sales of fetal organs.
Though it is illegal to profit from the sale of organs and tissues from aborted fetuses, the latest in the series of edited videos, released Friday, reveals discussion of procurement of brain, pancreas, heart and lung.
Planned Parenthood maintains it did nothing illegal.
About a dozen states have launched some form of investigation; five have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. Those protesting Saturday say politicians should not be so quick to turn away from what they say is damning evidence.
Planned Parenthood officials say that protesters want to ban abortion and block women from their services. They maintain that Saturday’s rallies were intended to intimidate and harass patients who rely on the clinics for basic and preventative health care.
According to Planned Parenthood, only 3 percent of the services it provides are related to abortion. The overwhelming majority involves screening for sexually transmitted diseases as well as providing contraception.
Republican-led committees in the U.S. and Senate have launched inquiries into whether Planned Parenthood violated the federal partial birth abortion ban act.
Legislators opposed to abortion have asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate Planned Parenthood, while supporters of the organization have asked her to investigate the Center for Medical Progress, which released the series of videos.