Democrats Continue Blasting New Planned Parenthood Probe

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2011   |   12:34PM   |   Washington, DC

More members of Congress — all Democrats — have come out in strong opposition to the impending investigation a House committee launched this week, when the head of an oversight committee requested numerous documents from the abortion business.

In a September 15 letter 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.

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.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, has responded to the investigation with the kind of polemic comments similar to those Planned Parenthood issued in response. He follows the new chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, of the Democratic Party, who also condemned the investigation.

Blumenthal calls the investigation an “abusive witch hunt by Republicans” that is “an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars” despite the fact that Planned Parenthood receives $363 million annually in taxpayer funding from all levels of government. He said the probe is “harassment of a trusted healthcare provider for millions of women and families in Connecticut and across the country.”

“At a time when countless women are out of work and rely on Planned Parenthood more than ever for essential health care, this invasive and baseless investigation is all the more reprehensible, and will only distract from providing health services,” he said.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, has also come to the defense of the abortion giant, which makes over $1 billion a year.

“With the recent announcement of their needless and politically motivated investigation of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, House Republicans continue to make their extreme agenda clear: to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care and attack the health providers they rely on in their communities,” she said, failing to note Planned Parenthood’s role as an abortion business.

“Instead of attacking unemployment, Republicans are waging a war against women.  Earlier this year, House Republicans threatened to shut down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood,” Schakowsky complained. “This investigation continues the Republican assault on Planned Parenthood, an organization that plays a critical role in our nation’s health care system.”

“This is not about federal funding of abortion. This is about cutting off women’s access to affordable, quality care in an effort to score political points.  Now is the time to be working on the issues that are most important to Americans – creating jobs and improving the economy,” she said.

Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, also a Democrat, complained as well about the probe to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for alleged financial improprieties and potential coverup of possible cases of sexual abuse and statutory rape.

He claims Republicans are “petty, ideological attacks against Planned Parenthood and women’s health care” rather than focusing on “their duty to help get America back to work.”

Ryan called Planned Parenthood a “trusted health care provider for more than 5 million people every year, many of whom would otherwise not receive vital services like prenatal care, well woman exams and cancer screenings. In Ohio alone, these attacks on Planned Parenthood could impact the delivery of critical health care services to nearly 100,000 people, most of them low-income.”

Ryan said, “The poverty rate among women is the highest in nearly two decades, and one in five women under the age of 65 don’t have access to health care. …The American people are demanding we wend these sort of distractions and get back to the important task of fixing our economy.”

While the Democratic legislators have been quick to paint the investigation as a partisan attack on health care, none of them have issued comments claiming Planned Parenthood has not engaged in any Medicaid fraud or has not covered up cases of sex traffickers or sexual abusers obtaining abortions for women at Planned Parenthood centers — the main thrust of the investigation.

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.

Planned Parenthood has retained a prominent law firm to respond to the new investigation. 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.”

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