State rep. calling foul on Planned Parenthood investigation
A state lawmaker is calling foul after a national newspaper alleged the Washington Attorney General’s Office failed to adequately investigate Planned Parenthood.
The Washington Times reports that after the state’s attorney general’s office received some “push back” from the University of Washington over files detailing the relationship between the university and Planned Parenthood, the AG’s office dropped its pursuit.
In the email chain, Deputy Attorney General Paige Dietrich asks Ian Goodhew, director of government relations for UW Medicine, for documents pertaining to the relationship between Planned Parenthood and the university’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory. After Mr. Goodhew pushes back to make sure the documents would remain confidential, Ms. Dietrich responds that the documents would no longer be necessary for the investigation.
For KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson, it is about more than just the AG’s office not investigating too deeply, it’s about the office being used as a political weapon.
“Things start to get really scary when the government is used as a weapon against people who don’t think the way the controlling party does,” Dori said. “That’s where we are in our state. Our attorney general’s office is a political weapon against people who are not Democrats.”
“Planned Parenthood is an organization that leftists in power in Washington love, passionately love,” he said. “The attorney general’s office promised a full investigation. Not because there was proof. The just wanted to find out if they were violating state law.”
Looking into it
The story was reported in The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper. Though, the emails were initially obtained by the Family Policy Institute of Washington and handed over to the publication. It’s the same organization behind past efforts to quash same-sex marriages in the state, or to overturn state regulations on transgender bathroom use.
Now, Representative Drew MacEwen (R-35th District) wants answers. He was among a handful of legislators who asked the AG to investigate Planned Parenthood after nationwide allegations were made that the non-profit health services organization profited from aborted fetal tissue.
“Attorney General Ferguson assured everyone that he would investigate this with the same vigor he investigates other issues in our state that fall on the other side of the political spectrum,” MacEwen said. “He came back and said this absolutely is not happening. We had fire thrown on us from the governor saying we were out for political blood.”
MacEwen is frustrated with the attorney general’s office and the treatment he and others received after the AG said there was nothing awry with Planned Parenthood in Washington state.
“The Washington Times, not The Seattle Times or The News Tribune, reports that apparently when the attorney generals’ office asked the University of Washington … for documentation, they said, ‘you don’t need to see this documentation over here, just look at the ones we are going to give you,’” MacEwen said.
“That, to me, doesn’t measure up to the standard of an unbiased investigation,” he said. “I don’t know if there is some illegality going on here with the University of Washington and Planned Parenthood. We don’t know that because there’s a stack of papers over here that UW said the attorney general’s office doesn’t need to look at.”
Investigating Planned Parenthood
The university has confirmed the documents exist, according to The Washington Times. The agreement is specifically between the university’s birth defects laboratory and Planned Parenthood.
The documents had been held back due to concerns that third parties mentioned in them could be open to harassment. UW representatives told the Times that neither the university or Planned Parenthood profit from the exchange, and that the documents detail transportation of tissue, and costs associated with the exchange.
But for MacEwen, that’s not good enough. He wants the AG to have seen those documents to make any determination. Taking the university on its word won’t suffice.
“This goes up and down the entire executive branch because when the attorney general released what he deemed to be complete findings on this issue, the governor was real quick to condemn me and others who signed on to ask for this investigation, saying it was politically motivated,” MacEwen said.
“I did not send a letter to the attorney general saying ‘this is going on, we need to prove it,'” he said. “I sent a letter saying, ‘hey, let’s make sure this is not going on.’ And I was hoping it wasn’t going on … I don’t think we are going to let this go away. I am going to consult with my fellow legislators and we’ll come up with a plan.”