Ted Cruz says Planned Parenthood is "apparently" a criminal organization.
The Texas senator, a proponent of stripping Planned Parenthood's government funding in a spending bill this fall (which could lead to a government shutdown), made the comments in response to the latest in a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the harvesting of tissue from aborted fetuses.
"Well, unfortunately there are far too many leaders in Washington who are apart of what I call the 'Washington cartel," Cruz told radio host Dave Elswick on Wednesday. "You know I have a new book that came out a few weeks ago called A Time For Truth, and in that book I detail what happens with the Washington cartel, which is career politicians in both parties who get in bed with special interests, and lobbyists, and who grow, and grow, and grow Washington.
"It's why we are $18 trillion in debt and the sad reality is that Republican leadership doesn't want to use the Constitutional authority we have to defund Planned Parenthood," he continued. "We should not be funding, what apparently is a criminal organization."
The Center for Medical Progress has released a series of videos over the past month that purport to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the illegal sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said the videos, shot by undercover anti-abortion activists, were deceptively edited and merely show legal repayments for handling tissues that are donated for research.
Cruz said the videos appear to show violations of U.S. law.
"You know, you watch these videos and they are horrifying. Planned Parenthood is caught on camera bartering and selling the body parts of unborn children," Cruz said. "That is a felony, a criminal offense that carries ten years in prison."
Cruz added that one of the first things he would do as president would be have the Department of Justice "open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal violations by that organization."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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