A Congressional committee has taken the first steps in investigating the Planned Parenthood abortion business over abuses ranging from financial disparities to its compliance with federal regulations on taxpayer funding to concerns that it is covering up cases of sex trafficking.
In a September 15 letter LifeNews.com obtained, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, writes to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.
“Pursuant to Rules X and XI of the United States House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is examining the institutional practices and policies of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates, and its handing of federal funding,” Stearns writes. “That Committee has questions about the politics in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion.”
“Please provide all internal audit reports conducted by PPFA and its affiliates from 1998 to 2010. If not clearly indicated in the audit reports, please detail how much PPFA and each affiliate expended and received in Title XIX Medicaid funding, Title X family planning, and any other federal funding,” the letter says.
The letter requests any information related to improper billing related to federally-funded programs, proof that federal funds are not being improperly used to pay for abortions by PPFA or its affiliates, audits by state agencies of any Planned Parenthood affiliate, and documentation of how many affiliates currently receive Title X family planning funding.
The Stearns letter also requests documents on standards and practices related to billing issues, written policies and procedures, and it requests information on how the abortion giant keeps its family planning abortion monies separate and segregated.
The abortion business responded on Twitter, saying, “Stearns is misusing his position to attack Planned Parenthood & women’s health care.”
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit health care provider that provides professional, reliable and quality health care, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment to three million women and men across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This politically motivated investigation is a continuation of the efforts of earlier this year to undermine Planned Parenthood, and more disturbingly, women’s access to the primary and preventive care they need.”
Richards said the abortion business has “a strong record of fiscal responsibility and have, always complied with all laws and regulations applicable to the receipt and use of federal funds.”
Planned Parenthood has come under heavy criticism in recent years for covering up cases of statutory rape by failing to report abortions done on unborn children of teen girls who have been victimized to authorities and by aiding and assisting alleged sex traffickers in obtaining abortions and other “services” for the women and girls they victimize. As such, as the Stearns letter asks for information related to those concerns.
“Please provide a summary of how PPFA detects criminal conduct and the policies and procedures in place to prevent it or report it,” the letter reads. “Please provide the policies and procedures PPFA and its affiliates have in place to ensure that all Planned Parenthood clinics report all cases of suspected sexual abuse, including statutory rape, to proper authorities.”
“Please provide the policies and procedures PPFA and its affiliates have in place to ensure that suspected sex trafficking is reported to the proper authorities,” it adds.
The letter also includes four pages of legal instructions on how the abortion business should comply with the requests Stearns makes in the letter.
Stearns said earlier this year that he was planning an investigation of the abortion giant: “I believe my Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee should review the findings of this report and possibly hold a hearing on why taxpayers are funding Planned Parenthood with its record of abuse and violations of state laws,” Stearns told Politico. “The American people deserve a concrete reason for funding Planned Parenthood; a reason I do not believe exits.”
The letter follows a request from AUL, members of Congress, and other pro-life groups urging an investigation. Americans United for Life issued a report featuring a groundbreaking analysis of the nation’s largest abortion business and saying it has uncovered evidence of systemic financial irregularities within the abortion giant, which receives more than $363 million in federal and state taxpayer funding, and that Congress should investigate. [related]
AUL staff combed through 20 years of Planned Parenthood financial data and the report documents the known and alleged abuses by Planned Parenthood, including the misuse of federal health care and family planning funds, failure to report criminal child sexual abuse, failure to comply with parental involvement laws, assisting those engaged in prostitution and/or sex trafficking, and dangerous misuse of the abortion drug RU-486.
AUL officials held a press conference with Rep. Renee Ellmers, a North Carolina Republican, and Rep. Randy Hultgren, an Illinois Republican, who have invited other members of Congress to join them in calling for a congressional probe of the abortion giant. Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican, joined the event as well.
In a letter to her colleagues, Ellmers wrote, “I invite my colleagues to review the findings of this report and to join us on Thursday as we voice our concerns about the issues raised and express our renewed commitment to seeking accountability for taxpayers and for investigating whether taxpayers are funding an organization that misuses government funding and violates state laws.”
Stearns later told Americans United for Life more about his feelings on the matter of Planned Parenthood, saying, “Taxpayers deserve accountability, and the report prepared by Americans United for Life demonstrates egregious abuses of taxpayer funds by Planned Parenthood. The legal team at Americans United for Life reviewed two decades of reports, audits, and financial statements regarding Planned Parenthood.”
“The report outlines Planned Parenthood’s record of violating state sexual assault and child abuse reporting laws, and of encouraging young girls to lie about their ages to circumvent state reporting laws. They also found as government funding of Planned Parenthood rises, so does the number of abortions. They found repeated instances of overbilling government health care programs,” he added.
Planned Parenthood previously responded to the report claiming the information is false.
“We are proud of the trust millions of women place in us every year to provide high quality health care. We approach our work with a deep sense of responsibility to the patients we serve, and recognize that the importance of our work is growing because in many communities we are often the only source of affordable quality health care for women,” the abortion business said. “This so-called report is a politically driven attack by an organization opposed to birth control and expanded access to birth control. It uses discredited, recycled and misleading claims to attack Planned Parenthood and should be viewed with a skeptical eye.”