Planned Parenthood was right to stop taking reimbursement for donating fetal tissue to research programs, but not because anyone has proved that the organization did anything wrong.

A surfeit of undercover videos by an anti-abortion group showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing how much they typically received for tissue donations but yielded no credible evidence that the organization was selling fetal tissue for a profit. Officials of the organization, one of the largest providers of reproductive health care in the United States, have insisted that they seek only to cover their costs in providing the tissue for medical research, which is legal.

But in light of the controversy stirred up by the videos, the decision to stop payments of any kind for fetal tissue takes away ammunition from critics who have been calling on the government to defund the organization. Those attempts have been unsuccessful so far, but fervor against Planned Parenthood continues, with five congressional committees investigating it — including a special House panel formed to look into the group.

Planned Parenthood’s decision to forgo recouping its costs from fetal tissue donation should defuse the ginned-up controversy over this organization’s work.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES