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Rand Paul Wants to Defund Planned Parenthood

Paul is just one of the many Republic presidential candidates eager to voice their support for the elimination of federal abortion funding.

by VICE News
Jul 27 2015, 7:20pm

Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Since allegations emerged that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of aborted fetal tissue, anti-abortion presidential contenders have been eager to voice their support for the elimination of federal abortion funding.

On Sunday, in an interview with FOX News, Senator and 2016 GOP candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul discussed the controversial video — which was shot undercover by anti-abortion activists from the Center for Medical Progress — of a Planned Parenthood executive casually describing the process of removing valuable organs from aborted fetuses.

"I think the time is now to decide whether taxpayer dollars should be going to such a gruesome procedure," Paul told FOX News host Sean Hannity.

Other GOP candidates, such as Governor Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee, have also urged lawmakers to consider halting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Last week, the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked Paul's proposition of an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

But Paul is determined to continue his crusade against Planned Parenthood. He has maintained a consistently anti-abortion position through his career, and believes that personhood (and the constitutional rights that personhood enjoys) begins at conception.

Paul told Hannity that he will try to force a bill through and has submitted a discharge petition, which requires the backing of 16 senators to grant it access to the floor.

"Conservatives across the country are outraged," Paul said, and he is confident that they will write to their senators encouraging them to back his bill.

Presidential hopeful and Louisiana Bovernor Bobby Jindal announced plans to launch his own investigation into Planned Parenthood after he saw the video.

The ethical standards around fetal tissue donations have been picked apart since the video went public earlier this month. According to the American Medical Association's code of ethics, fetal tissue shouldn't be exchanged for financial enumeration that exceeds "reasonable expenses."

In the video, the executive says they usually receive between $30 and $100 for fetal tissue from the tissue procurement company StemExpress, which would cover procedural costs.

Fetal tissue has been a valuable resource to scientific researchers for the last century. The first effective polio vaccine was developed through the study of fetal kidney cells.

Planned Parenthood maintain that they have not broken any laws by selling aborted fetus tissue to research labs, but they did apologize for the tone that their executive spoke with.

"We have the highest standards" said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood on "This Week". "The care and health care and safety of our patients is our most important priority."

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department would "review all the information and determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time."

Paul did not respond to VICE News' request for comment.

Watch the VICE News documentary: "Misconception: the Fake Abortion Clinics of America."