By ALAN FRAM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Anti-abortion activists have given Congress unedited videos they recorded showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing their retrieval of fetal tissue, a House committee chairman said Wednesday.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed the recordings last month as part of an investigation Republicans are pressing into whether Planned Parenthood has illegally sold tissue from aborted fetuses for profit.
The chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he has set up a viewing room where Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides can see the recordings. He said the videos will not now be released to the public "out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and security of all individuals recorded."
Chaffetz said the footage contains nearly 800 gigabytes of data, which he said means it will take investigators "significant time to evaluate." Though recording techniques vary and make estimates difficult, that amount of data is roughly equivalent to several dozen DVDs worth of movies.
The abortion foes who secretly recorded the conversations say the videos show Planned Parenthood has broken the law by profiting from the tissue sales.
Planned Parenthood says it did nothing illegal and only accepted payments covering the costs of retrieving the tissue, which it provides to medical researchers. The group announced Tuesday that it would no longer charge anything for the tissue.
Planned Parenthood says videos the activists have previously released publicly were deceptively edited to distort the conversations. Planned Parenthood also said that any videos the activists give to Congress may have been altered.
Three other congressional committees are also investigating Planned Parenthood, and the Republican-run House has created a special panel to conduct another.