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Washington • Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday used his power as Oversight and Government Reform chairman to subpoena the group that produced undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials talking about the costs for fetal tissues from abortions in an effort to get around a judicial order.
A federal judge has prohibited the Center for Medical Progress which secretly recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood officials from releasing its unedited video after a lawsuit by the National Abortion Federation, which claimed the group's members lied about their identities to infiltrate a closed-door conference.
Some congressional Republicans have pledged not to vote for a new federal budget that includes any funding for Planned Parenthood, a move that could spark a government shutdown at the end of the month.
Chaffetz, R-Utah, says Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation are trying to hide their activities from Americans as part of the debate over federal funding.
"This subpoena is a demand for transparency," he said in a statement. "The action of the court will not thwart or impede Congress' constitutional duty and right to conduct effective oversight."
In an interview Tuesday, Chaffetz told The Salt Lake Tribune: "If you're going to get a full picture of what we're dealing with, you're going to need the video."
Chaffetz already has planned an Oversight Committee hearing this month to look into the videos and Planned Parenthood's federal funding.
Planned Parenthood has said it does not sell fetal tissues which is against the law but charges only administrative costs, which are allowed.