Column

Blackburn Op-Ed: An Investigation in Defense of Life

No issue is more deserving of attention than protecting human life.

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Washington, November 10, 2015 | comments

An Investigation in Defense of Life

U.S. News & World Report

By Marsha Blackburn

The abhorrent videos released over the last several months detailing abortion practices and treatment of infant lives have shaken and startled compassionate Americans across the country. These videos raise serious questions that deserve a thorough examination, as people have reacted with disgust as they have seen the video footage. Constituents, regardless of being anti-abortion or pro-abortion rights, are demanding we get answers to their questions about how we treat and protect life in this country and details of how this practice of selling baby body parts transpires.

The content in these videos is despicable and difficult to watch, but we cannot ignore what is an unsettling topic. This is a discussion our country must have. No issue is more deserving of our undivided attention than protecting the dignity of human life.

The mission of our Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives will be to gather information and get the facts about medical practices of abortion service providers and the business practices of the procurement organizations who sell baby body parts. Our select panel will help centralize the investigations already being conducted by Congress at the Energy and Commerce, Judiciary and Oversight Committees by bringing it primarily under one umbrella.

Specifically, the focus of our investigation will be to review medical procedures of abortion providers and business practices of procurement organizations as well as the relationship that exists between the two entities.

We will also look at the practices being used by providers of second- and third-trimester abortions, including partial birth abortion procedures that may lead to a child being born alive as a result of an attempted abortion. What happens with survivors of partial birth abortions? What rights do they have?

Finally, we'll look at how Title X funds are being used to ensure taxpayer dollars are not going to fund abortion procedures. Not one cent of taxpayer money should be going to fund big abortion businesses.

Not only is this a conversation that we must have as a nation, it is also long overdue. The most recent thorough examination of the ethical, legal and scientific issues surrounding any aspect of human fetal tissue research was the effort nearly three decades ago by a National Institutes of Health advisory panel in 1988. The federal law that primarily addresses human fetal tissue research, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, was enacted over twenty years ago in response to concerns with transplantation of fetal tissue in humans.

As we begin our work as a select panel, we can assure the public we fully understand we are charged with gathering information and conducting fact finding to get answers on the questions outlined in this article. You can be assured that we will follow the law, find the facts and focus on where those facts take us in defense of life.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn serves as Chair of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and is Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She represents the Seventh Congressional District of Tennessee. 

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