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Washington • Rep. Mia Love on Wednesday defended the House's investigation into the alleged sale of fetal organs after some Democrats called for ending the probe in the wake of a Colorado shooting in which the gunman reportedly said "no more baby parts" as he was apprehended.
Three people were killed and nine wounded in the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic last week.
Utah's Love is one of eight Republicans appointed to the Select Committee on Infant Lives, which was formed in the wake of disputed undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing prices for organs retrieved from aborted fetuses.
Love told The Salt Lake Tribune that the committee's work should move forward and could help tone down the anger over the fetal-tissue controversy.
"I'm hoping that's what's going to happen," she said. "It's going to be more of an investigation, a fact-finding mission, and not a rhetoric mission. It shouldn't be anything about politics. It should be about transparency and fact finding."
Several Democrats have said that the Colorado shooting shows how the GOP's response to the videos has inflamed an already politically charged subject.
"The incendiary language and rhetoric being used associated with this committee is disgusting," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told reporters this week. "It is time for us to take down this committee and take down the vitriolic comments being made by so many against what is a legally provided service."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and the six Democrats named to the GOP-led committee, including Speier, sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., urging him to jettison the panel.
"Enough is enough," they wrote in the letter. "No woman in this country should ever have to worry that a visit to her doctor will end in violence, and no health-care provider should ever be targeted for ensuring access to health-care services."
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the panel will "only continue the witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, its staff and its patients."
Love said she deplored the shooting, but that the committee's work must continue.
"In any way, shape or form, any act of violence is simply inexcusable. Any act of violence," Love said. "And my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I'm here to protect human life, all human life at every stage."
Love noted that Democrats were participating in the committee.
Pelosi referred to the panel as the "Select Committee to Attack Women's Health."
Love says that isn't so, and the committee should be known for what it is: An investigative effort to better understand the issue of fetal tissue and research using the materials.
"To me, and I hope to the rest of the committee, this is about transparency, to at least let the American people know exactly what is going on," Love said. "This is not about, for me, about Planned Parenthood. ... There's so much we don't know about the sale of body parts."
It is against the law to sell fetal body parts for profit, and Planned Parenthood says it follows the law. It said the only money it received was reimbursement for storage and shipping costs and it has since stopped accepting those payments. The organization has decried the undercover videos, made by an anti-abortion group, as heavily edited to distort reality.
Love's defense of the congressional probe echoes that of the Tennessee Republican chosen to head the select committee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
"Instead of playing politics with this tragedy, maybe those on the left like Senator Barbara Boxer should actually take the time to read the resolution establishing the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives," Blackburn said in a statement. "At no point does it mention Planned Parenthood. We are focused on a fact-finding mission into abortion practices and fetal-tissue procurement and the relationship between the two businesses."
The select committee has yet to meet and may not hold any hearings until next year.