Investigators in Florida have cited four Planned Parenthood clinics for violations in the wake of the release of video footage showing executives with the abortion business discussing the sale of fetal body parts.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Agency for Health Care Administration found that the Florida abortion facilities not only kept improper logs for disposal of fetal remains, but have in the past performed second-trimester abortions without a license to do so.
"These facilities have been notified to immediately cease performing second-trimester abortions," AHCA spokesperson Shelisha Coleman said in a statement Wednesday. "The agency may take additional actions against these facilities, including administrative sanctions."
The clinics, located in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples, could be fined up to $500 per violation.
Last month, the state's Republican Governor, Rick Scott, ordered an investigation of 16 statewide Planned Parenthood offices following the release of graphic videos showing officials with the leading abortion organization discussing the provision of fetal tissue to medical researchers.
"The videos are disturbing," Scott said Wednesday. "It's against the law to sell body parts, so we did the right thing in our state to just make sure they're complying with the law."
He added in a later press release, "If a Planned Parenthood office is not following the law, we will move quickly to take legal and regulatory action against them...We hold our healthcare organizations in Florida to the highest standards of safety and we expect them to fully comply with the law at all times."
Meanwhile, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing and asserting that it does not have a tissue donation program in the state. It also denied the charge that it had performed unlicensed second-trimester abortions, Fox News reports.
"The claim that any of our health centers are performing procedures we are not licensed to perform is false and seemingly stems from AHCA flip-flopping on their own rules and definitions of gestational periods," executive director Laura Goodhue said.
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, conservative group The Center for Medical Progress released a fifth video earlier this week showing Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas, casually discussing the procurement and cost of "intact" fetuses and altering abortion procedures to meet specific needs.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens claimed the video was edited out of context.
"The latest tape has at least 20 substantial and unexplained edits. Previous tapes released by this extremist group were heavily edited in order to distort what the people on the tapes actually said," she said, according to CNN.
"These videos are intended to shock and deceive the public. For example, one video was edited to make it look like a doctor said she would 'sell' foetal tissue for a profit-when in fact, she said the exact opposite, 10 separate times, and nearly all instances were edited out of the tape," she added.
A total of 12 states have already launched an investigation into their respective Planned Parenthood facilities in light of the videos, including South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Louisiana.