Democrats Object to Probe of Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 27, 2011   |   5:17PM   |   Washington, DC

Two leading Democrats in Congress are objecting to an investigation a Republican committee chairman has started into the Planned Parenthood abortion business amidst allegations concerning financial improprieties and criminal actions.

As reported today, Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, requesting a host of financial documents related to federal funding it receives and information concerning its practices when confronted with teenage girls who are victims of statutory rape who are requesting abortions.

Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado, both Democrats, responded to the Stearns letter with their own missive dated today complaining about the broad reach of the investigation and the documents requested, which they call “far-reaching.”

“We question the basis for the investigation and whether Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of a Republican vendetta,” the Democrats claim, saying the request for extensive financial and policy documents is “extraordinarily broad and burdensome.”

“The letter asks Planned Parenthood and all 83 of its affiliates for internal audit reports covering up to a 12-year period, for state audits covering a 20-year-period, for detailed information about any improper billing, and for sensitive information about the services and referral practices of Planned Parenthood affiliates and clinics,” the letter reads. “We are aware of no predicate that would justify this sweeping and invasive request to Planned Parenthood.”

They claim previous audits by the HHS Inspector General and state Medicaid programs “have not identified any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity, or any other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive congressional investigation.”

The Democrats complain House Republicans and Stearns specifically have voted to revoke taxpayer funding from the abortion business and they allege Stearns “unfairly smeared the organization” when he alleged that Planned Parenthood was not properly reporting cases of statutory rape or sex trafficking to authorities. Calling the vote and potential investigation “an unfounded legislative attack,” the Democrats point out that Obama and Senate Democrats voted to uphold requiring taxpayers to finance the abortion business.

“Your fervent ideological opposition to Planned Parenthood does not justify launching this intrusive investigation,” Waxman and DeGette write, saying Planned Parenthood does “life-saving work.”

Although two leading Democrats don’t want an investigation of Planned Parenthood, the head of the pro-life organization that called for it says it is much-needed. Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest called the news that a congressional committee  would be subpoenaing records from Planned Parenthood as part of an investigation into the abortion mega-provider “a historic first step in getting the American taxpayer out of the business of subsidizing abortion.”

“AUL welcomes the news that Congress is investigating the abortion mega-provider Planned Parenthood for financial improprieties and its poor handling of the public trust. AUL’s groundbreaking report on Planned Parenthood released this summer outlines a template for investigators and provides extensive information on the abortion giant. The American taxpayer does not want to be in the business of abortion, and this investigation is an important first step toward ending public funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider,” she said.

“We also want to congratulate Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, for his leadership on this issue and for his willingness to look more closely at Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for their fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars, as outlined in AUL’s report,” Yoest added.