CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Fetal remains from three Planned Parenthood facilities in Ohio were sent to companies that then disposed of them in landfills in violation of state administrative rules, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Friday.
DeWine, who launched a state investigation after an anti-abortion group released videos it said showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissues, said his probe found no indication that affiliates in Ohio sold fetal tissue.
“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” DeWine said in a news release. “It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”
Stephanie Kight, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, questioned the report.
“These new allegations by the attorney general that we are improperly disposing of fetal tissue are flat-out false,” Kight said in a statement.
“Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue like any other quality health care provider,” she said. “Our agreements with vendors all require them to follow state law, and dispose of tissue accordingly. If they are not, then I will take swift action.”
DeWine’s spokesman Dan Tierney said that while Planned Parenthood contracts with medical waste companies to handle the fetal remains, the three affiliates have the obligation as surgical facilities to ensure humane disposal.
The violation, if proven, is administrative and not criminal. DeWine, a Republican, turned the findings over to the Ohio Department of Health to seek an injunction against Planned Parenthood to halt the practice at the facilities in Bedford Heights, Cincinnati and Columbus, Tierney said.
Governors in several states have sought to strip funding from Planned Parenthood over the reports of alleged tissue sales. Planned Parenthood has denied any illegal payments and has challenged attempts to stop Medicaid funding for its services that do not include abortions in several states.
DeWine’s announcement comes weeks after a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, killing three people and injuring nine others. During a court appearance on Wednesday the suspect declared himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies.”
Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland and David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by David Gregorio