Washington State just cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, which in and of itself isn't major news. More than a dozen states have closed their investigations into the reproductive health provider without finding any illegal activity.
But the wrap of this investigation is distinct for one important reason: Washington is one of just two states that allow patients to donate fetal tissue after having an abortion. So the investigation concluded that the practice that Republicans claim kicked up this whole mess—Planned Parenthood's participation in fetal tissue donation programs—is not breaking any laws or harming patients.
Here's what the Republican lawmakers who called for the investigation asked the attorney general's office to investigate:
Specifically, the letter asks whether Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington perform partial-birth abortions and, second, whether any Washington affiliate sells fetal tissue for profit, rather than simply recovering costs.
And here's what the attorney general's office concluded (emphasis mine):
The procedures described in the Center for Medical Progress videos that aired and in the letters this office received from legislators do not meet the definition of partial-birth abortion. We found no indication that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are anything other than performance of a legally authorized medical procedure.
The sale of fetal tissue is unlawful. Planned Parenthood, however, does not sell fetal tissue. While federal law permits Planned Parenthood to recover costs associated with fetal tissue donations for research purposes, the organization does not recover such costs. It only accepts mailing materials provided by the fetal tissue repository for transport of the tissue. We found no basis to believe that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue or profiting from fetal tissue donations.
Now can we stop pretending these investigations are a legitimate use of taxpayer money?