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Rand Paul Leads Call for Audit of Fetal Tissue Research

Paul joined 34 senators in signing the letter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of the Senate's Republican presidential candidates put their names on a letter also signed by a majority of the conference asking for a new inquiry into fetal tissue research.  

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spearheaded the letter to Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson with 34 other Senate Republicans, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, both fellow presidential hopefuls. The request, sent Tuesday, stems from a series of videos pertaining to Planned Parenthood.  

"We request that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conduct an audit of all fetal tissue research supported by HHS, specifically examining the Department's oversight of contractor and grantee compliance with the laws governing fetal tissue research," the senators wrote, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  

Paul and his colleagues call incomplete the response to an earlier letter sent to HHS about oversight of the transfer of human fetal tissue more generally.  

"Our request to you follows receipt of an unacceptable response from the Department on August 14, 2015, which failed to address many of the substantive questions raised in the July 22, 2015 inquiry to HHS)," the senators wrote. "The Department does not appear to have conducted any internal investigation of their own research practices or any audits or other oversight of their contractors, suppliers, and grantees with regard to their compliance with fetal tissue research laws and instead relied on assertions of compliance."  

The missive on the Senate side came just as the House was going through the procedural steps of setting up a select panel to investigate Planned Parenthood, as GOP leadership indicated would happen as the House steered clear of a shutdown threat over defunding the organization.  

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