Sale of fetal tissue on minds of Roe, voters
Published 8:29 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015
A pair of viral Internet videos showing officials from the Planned Parenthood organization discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue was one of the hot button topics voters of the 1st District asked their congressman about during a telephone Town Hall meeting Tuesday evening.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe held the Town Hall teleconference Tuesday evening as a chance to touch base with constituents and update them on what’s happening in Washington.
During his opening comments, Roe brought up the recent controversy regarding the videos and the Planned Parenthood organization and several callers voiced their concerns.
The videos Roe referenced show officials with Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of fetal tissue collected from abortions.
On Tuesday morning, Roe and other members of the Health and Education Committee spoke with Sylva Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, regarding Planned Parenthood, which receives government funding.
“I asked if she had seen the tape on Planned Parenthood and she said she had not,” Roe said, adding Burwell was asked the same question a week ago and she said she had not seen the videos. “I think she’s intentionally not watching them so she won’t have to comment.”
“We asked if she was going to investigate this, and she would not answer in the affirmative,” Roe added.
Burwell has a duty to investigate the reports of selling “baby body parts” because Planned Parenthood receives money from the Department of Health and Human Services, Roe said.
“They get 41 percent of all their funding from taxpayers,” Roe said. “I would like to cut it all off, if it were up to me.”
In 2014, abortions made up 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services for its clients, Roe said.
“The thing I found utterly amazing is that Planned Parenthood can get so outraged if a woman wants an abortion and we ask to do an ultrasound beforehand, but then they turn around and use an ultrasound to tear apart a baby and sell the tissue,” he said, adding he feels the conduct of the organization’s officials is “horrendous” and it offends him as an obstetrician.
One caller who spoke to Roe during the teleconference shared Roe’s view of the conduct by Planned Parenthood.
“I’m outraged by these videos of Planned Parenthood selling these baby body parts,” said Joe, who did not give a last name. “It’s morally outrageous.”
Among the other topics broached by voters were terrorism and the proposed Iran nuclear deal.
“I want to know what you all are going to do about this Iran thing,” asked Charlotte Tolley of Erwin. “I don’t think this should go through because I think that threatens Israel.”
In response, Roe said he believes the agreement negotiated by President Obama’s administration will be defeated in Congress.
“The largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world is Iran,” Roe said. “They don’t support ISIS, they are enemies with ISIS, but they support Hezbollah and jihad. They have said as a national policy that they want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.”
A caller from Sevierville described the deal as “heinous” and said Obama should be impeached for negotiating it.
Roe shared his concern that the deal “paves the way” for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
“You don’t produce highly enriched uranium for purely peaceful purposes,” he said. “If they follow all the rules, they could have a nuclear weapon in 15 years.”
Callers also voiced concern over the recent shooting at a military recruitment center in Chattanooga and the fact that military personnel are not allowed to be armed on base or at recruitment centers.
“We’ve got homegrown terrorists and people who have been allowed to come in here and hide behind our liberties,” Roe said, adding congress is working on a bi-partisan bill to arm America’s soldiers on bases and at recruitment centers. “I think the little junior jihadists need to understand there will be some red coming from the other direction and hopefully sooner than they think.”