Planned Parenthood Attacks Congressman Behind Investigation

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2011   |   12:42PM   |   Washington, DC

In a new fundraising email in response to his beginning a congressional investigation, the president of the Planned Parenthood abortion business is aggressively attacking the congressman who called for it.

As LifeNews first reported yesterday, Congressman Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican, said a committee he chairs will take 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 obtained, Stearns, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood. The letter asks Richards to comply with current federal regulations and legal obligations by providing Congress with a wide range of documents within two weeks of the date of the letter.

“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.”

In a fundraising email Richards sent to the pro-abortion activists who support Planned Parenthood, she aggressively went after Stearns, calling his attempt to hold the abortion business accountable “harassment” and “intimidation.”

About the letter Planned Parenthood received weeks ago, Richards says, “Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the chairman of a House oversight committee, just sent us a letter announcing that his committee has started an “investigation” of Planned Parenthood and demanding that we hand over financial and other records from every Planned Parenthood health center. He’s grasping for something, anything, he can use to discredit, damage, or destroy us.”

“I want to be crystal clear: we are not afraid of Rep. Stearns and his baseless demands. I am proud of the work Planned Parenthood Federation of America and our affiliates do, and I know how seriously we take our role as financial stewards of grants, government funding, and contributions from supporters like you,” Richards added. [related]

“But you know as well as I do that this isn’t about fiscal responsibility. This is about harassment and intimidation of America’s leading provider and advocate of women’s health care. This is about an effort to undercut Planned Parenthood and undermine Planned Parenthood health centers’ ability to provide essential care to the women, men, and teens who rely on them. This is about a pattern of politically motivated attacks designed to eliminate Planned Parenthood once and for all,” Richards claimed.

Richards informed her members the abortion giant will comply with the request for information, but started a petition campaign to harass and intimidate Stearns by sending him thousands of letters designed to show opposition from Americans to the investigation.

“When we deliver the boxes of documents Congressman Stearns has demanded, I want to add one more: stacks of letters to Rep. Stearns signed by thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters from every state across the country. I want to show him how many of us are unwilling to stand by quietly while he and his anti-choice, anti-women’s health buddies keep hammering at Planned Parenthood,” Richards writes.

Richards closes the fundraising appeal claiming Stearns’ investigation is unconstitutional, saying, “Stearns and his allies are looking for a different way to come after us. They’re misusing their power to harass Planned Parenthood and keep the health centers from serving patients.”

Stearns’ 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.

“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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Two top pro-abortion Democrats released their own letter condemning the investigation, while pro-life groups applauded it.