Republicans call for report on how Planned Parenthood, other abortion providers spend taxpayer dollars

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More than 60 Republican lawmakers are requesting a Government Accountability Office study examining how Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide or promote abortion services are using their government funding.

Led by Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black, Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson, and Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter, the legislators wrote to the GAO last week in a letter made public Sunday, urging transparency with federally funded programs.

“Proper oversight of publicly funded programs is crucial in determining the value of the goods and services provided to the taxpayer, and allow[s] policymakers to more carefully and thoroughly review them,” they write in the letter.

The members want an updated version of GAO’s 2010 report on federally funded health-related organizations as well as data pertaining to the women’s health services — including family planning — provided by Community Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

“America’s largest abortion provider and a major recipient of taxpayer funds, Planned Parenthood, showed in its most recent annual report that they are providing fewer health services, while abortions and federal funding are going up,” Black said in a statement.

“Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year, almost 1 million in the past three years. Last year, federal taxpayers gave Planned Parenthood a record $542 million, which is an 11 percent increase over the past two years,” Vitter further noted in a statement.

“An independent study of the federal funding for abortion providers is necessary to further expose the truth of how these precious taxpayer dollars are truly being used,” Black added.

Olson stressed the need to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not going to fund abortion services.

“This new report is critically needed to shine a bright light on how taxpayer funds are allocated,” he said in a statement. “Federal tax dollars are legally prohibited from being used for abortions. Under our constitution, the Obama Administration has a duty to enforce these laws. And under that same constitution, Congress has a duty to ensure that the executive branch follows the law of the land.”

The Republican House and Senate members are requesting data on all the affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, The Guttmacher Institute, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States — including the amount of federal funding the organizations received, the allocating programs, the manner the funds were disbursed, the services they provide and the number of people served in each of those service categories.

In addition to the dozens of House members and Vitter, Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, James Risch of Idaho, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska also signed onto the letter.

Monday afternoon, New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter and Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, the co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, issued a joint statement in response to the Republicans’ call, claiming the GOP lawmakers are wasting time scapegoating Planned Parenthood.

“This has nothing to do with accountability and everything to do with an ideological crusade against women’s health, reminding the American people that while Republicans may not be interested in averting the sequester’s disastrous cuts, they are interested in getting between women and their doctors and limiting women’s health choices.”

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Caroline May