Chaffetz: House Investigation Into Planned Parenthood Still On

Rachel Stoltzfoos | Staff Reporter

Republicans heading up the House investigation into Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted fetuses said Tuesday the non-profit’s sudden decision to stop accepting payment for the fetuses will not stop the probe.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Planned Parenthood’s promise to stop accepting money in exchange for aborted fetuses is “helpful,” but the committee will continue to investigate its use of federal funds.

“Significant questions still remain about Planned Parenthood’s finances,” Chaffetz said in a statement responding to Planned Parenthood’s Tuesday announcement. “This decision does not answer the question as to why a non-profit, tax-exempt organization reporting approximately $125M in revenue over expenses annually needs a subsidy from the American taxpayer.”

And Rep. Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee chairman, said his committee will continue investigating whether Planned Parenthood clinics are violating either the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act when they harvest the fetuses.

“While Planned Parenthood has stated its intention to end its practice of accepting reimbursements for fetal tissue donation, it has not stated its commitment to end its horrific practice of harvesting fetal tissue,” Goodlatte said in a statement Tuesday, adding the announcement “certainly does not excuse the horrific practices brought to light” by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

Congressional Republicans are working to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funds after CMP released a series of undercover videos exposing its dealings in fetal tissue. Top Planned Parenthood doctors talk frankly about the practice of dismembering fetuses for the sake of medical research in the videos. (RELATED: 9 Key Points From First Nine Planned Parenthood Videos)

Senate Democrats have so far blocked efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, but the House is considering another effort to defund the group using the budget tool of reconciliation, which allows some measures to pass with just a simple majority vote in the Senate.

Both the oversight and judiciary committees are holding hearings on the matter, and the House voted last week to set up a special panel — similar to the committee on Benghazi — to deepen the probe into Planned Parenthood.

CMP alleges Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from the exchange of fetal tissue, and that its doctors are illegally changing the way they perform abortions in order to obtain desirable tissue.

“Planned Parenthood’s latest PR stunt of so-called ‘policy’ change is an admission of guilt,” CMP project lead David Daleiden said in a statement responding to Planned Parenthood’s decision Tuesday.

The law in question bans profit from the exchange of fetal tissue, but allows organizations to receive broadly defined “reasonable payments” that apparently make the ban meaningless in practice. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Allegations Turn On Squishy McConnell Backed Law)

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards said Tuesday the promise to stop receiving payments is not an admission of guilt, and should not be taken as encouragement for other organizations to stop the practice.

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Tags : cecile richards center for medical progress house committee on oversight and government reform jason chaffetz planned parenthood
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