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Accountability

House Investigation into Planned Parenthood

House Investigation into Planned Parenthood

Recent undercover videos featuring senior level Planned Parenthood officials admitting unethical and potentially illegal procedures should be of great concern to every America.  The practices described in these videos are despicable, and Planned Parenthood should be forced to defend their content.

Three House Committees – Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, and Oversight –  immediately launched an aggressive investigation of these videos.  Learn more about the House’s ongoing work into the abhorrent practices of Planned Parenthood:

TIMELINE OF HOUSE PLANNED PARENTHOOD INVESTIGATION

July 15, 2015: Upon release of the first video, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders and the House Judiciary Committee released a statement launching investigations within both committees’ jurisdictions.

July 17, 2015: E&C committee members sent a letter to Cecile Richards, the president of PPFA requesting an interview with Dr. Nucatola (the woman featured in the first video and the Senior Director of Medical Services at PPFA).

July 20, 2015: PPFA responded to the committee signaling that it would likely not make Dr. Nucatola available for an interview, but would instead make available Dr. Reagan McDonald-Mosley, the Chief Medical Officer of PPFA. They cite potential legal questions regarding Dr. Nucatola as the reason for not making her available.

July 17, 2015: The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch demanding further investigation by the Department of Justice into potential violations of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act by Planned Parenthood.

July 28, 2015: HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell testified at the Education and the Workforce Committee where she faced questions regarding the videos. This was the same day of the third video release. Burwell said she had not seen the videos and HHS would not be investigating them, she directed attention to the Justice Department. Committee members also pressed Burwell regarding her communication with PPFA since the release of the first video. Burwell indicated she had not had communication with PPFA in that time.

August 7, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to PPFA, Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc., Novogenix Laboratories, and StemExpress requesting interviews and information regarding each organization’s practices relating to human fetal tissue collection, sale, and/or donation.

August 14, 2015: The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent letters to HHS and PPFA seeking information on the money PPFA receives from the government, PPFA employee salaries, and the services PPFA provides that are not otherwise available through other taxpayer-funded programs.

August 14, 2015: E&C last week received a briefing from Dr. Reagan McDonald-Mosley, the Chief Medical Officer of PPFA.

August 17, 2015: The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting information on the department’s prior investigations into the trafficking of fetal body parts.

August 19, 2015: The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to 58 Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country requesting information on their clinical procedures and standards when performing abortion services.

August 25, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee interviewed officials from StemExpress.

August 27, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee interviewed Dr. Nucatola.

September 1, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee received a briefing from the National Institutes of Health.

September 2, 2015: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducted an interview with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding the use of fetal tissue research.

September 3, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee received briefings from both Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and Novogenix Laboratories.

September 3, 2015: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee received its first production from Planned Parenthood. Committee investigators are carefully combing through the materials.

September 9, 2015: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing with testimony from James Bopp Jr., General Counsel from the National Right to Life, and two women who survived abortions.

September 9, 2015: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” At the hearing, two abortion survivors, Ms. Melissa Ohden and Ms. Gianna Jessen, testified, as well as James Bopp, Jr., General Counsel for National Right to Life and Priscilla J. Smith, Director and Senior Fellow, Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice, Information Society Project at Yale Law School. This hearing is the first in a series of Committee hearings on the actions of Planned Parenthood.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) opening statement:

Other videos from the hearing can be viewed here.

Abortion Survivor Melissa Ohden’s Testimony 
Abortion Survivor Gianna Jessen’s Testimony
Rep. Trent Frank’s (R-AZ) Opening Statement

September 9, 2015: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent letters to StemExpress and the Center for Medical Progress. The Committee is requesting all unedited video footage from CMP relating to the acquisition, preparation, and sale of fetal tissue. StemExpress has been identified as a company that procured fetal tissue from one or more Planned Parenthood centers. The Committee seeks documents and materials to more fully understand the process by which StemExpress obtained fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

September 15, 2015: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena to the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) for all unedited video footage in their possession relating to the acquisition, preparation, and sale of fetal tissue. CMP is prevented from releasing footage due to a lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) to keep the videos out of the public domain.  Find Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) statement here.

September 17, 2015: The  Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the two draft bills authored by full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), “Protecting Infants: Ending Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Providers Who Violate the Law.” Blackburn’s legislation will bolster the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 and Ellmers’ bill will bolster the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

September 17, 2015: As a part of the House’s ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood, the House Judiciary Committee released a video highlighting Republicans’ work on this issue and featuring two abortion survivors who testified before the Committee last week.

September 18, 2015: Chairmen Jason Chaffetz and Jim Jordan of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a follow-up letter to HHS reiterating their request for documents as outlined in their August 14 letter. The Committee described its intent to use a compulsory process if HHS does meet its September 21 deadline.

September 18, 2015: The House of Representatives approved two bills: H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, authored by Rep. Diane Black  (R-TN), which includes legislative language championed by Ellmers to invest $235 million in Federally Qualified Health Centers in support of women’s health care, and H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, authored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). These votes wrap up a productive week in defending infant lives, holding Planned Parenthood accountable, and investing in women’s health care.

September 22, 2015: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee formally noticed a hearing for September 29 to examine the use of taxpayer funding by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA) and its affiliates. PPFA President Cecile Richards is expected to testify.

September 22, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent two letters to Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and Novogenix demanding more details regarding how the companies deal with Planned Parenthood affiliates, the cost of fetal tissue, and obtaining consent from patients. Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Murphy commented, “Our investigation has always and continues to be about respect for human life.”

September 29, 2015: Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee held a hearing on “Planned Parenthood’s Taxpayer Funding.” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, testified.  A full roundup of the Committee hearing can be found here.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) Opening Statement

September 29, 2015: The  Energy and Commerce Committee will begin to markup up recommendations for a budget reconciliation package (the markup will continue on September 30). The Committee’s recommendations include language that would repeal the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund and prohibit Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for one year. For more information about the markup please see the Committee’s website here.

September 29, 2015: The House of Representatives approved H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act, authored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), to help protect innocent infant lives.

September 30, 2015: The Energy and Commerce Committee approved reconciliation recommendations including legislative language to stop states from receiving federal dollars for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

September 30, 2015: Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent letters to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the heads of seven Planned Parenthood affiliates.

October 7, 2015: The House of Representatives voted to create a select panel within the Energy and Commerce Committee for the purpose of investigating abortion practices and the handling of and policies regarding fetal tissue, its cost, and how it is obtained.

October 8, 2015: The Judiciary Committee will hold its second hearing in a series titled, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining Abortion Procedures and Medical Ethics at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” This hearing will continue to examine the abortion practices of Planned Parenthood, which has been the subject of an ongoing House Judiciary Committee investigation into the organization.

October 13, 2015: Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept reimbursements for donating fetal tissue. Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) commented, “…there are still many questions yet to be answered surrounding Planned Parenthood’s business practices and relationships with the procurement organizations. This is exactly why the House is investigating abortion practices and how we can better protect life.” Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept reimbursements for donating fetal tissue. Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) commented, “…there are still many questions yet to be answered surrounding Planned Parenthood’s business practices and relationships with the procurement organizations. This is exactly why the House is investigating abortion practices and how we can better protect life.”

October 23, 2015: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement announcing the Republican appointments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s new Select Investigative Panel that will focus on the grisly practices of big abortion providers.

“Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business have shocked the nation, and demanded action.  At my request, three House committees have been investigating the abortion business, but we still don’t have the full truth.  Chairman Blackburn and our members will have the resources and the subpoena power to get to the bottom of these horrific practices, and build on our work to protect the sanctity of all human life.”

Following are the Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s new Select Investigative Panel:

  • Marsha Blackburn, Chairman (R-TN)
  • Joe Pitts (R-PA)
  • Diane Black (R-TN)
  • Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
  • Sean Duffy (R-WI)
  • Andy Harris (R-MD)
  • Vicki Hartzler (R-MO)
  • Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)

For the most up-to-date information, visit these committee websites

Energy and Commerce Committee
Judiciary Committee
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Updates from the House Judiciary Committee 

What are the committees investigating?

1. Are abortion providers profiting from the sale of fetal tissue?
2. Are abortion providers changing procedures in order to maximize the harvesting of fetal tissue?
3. Are patients giving sufficient informed consent when fetal tissue is donated?
4. Were federal laws violated and whether federal law sufficiently prohibits these barbaric acts?
5. What congressional action is necessary to further respond to these horrific acts?
6. Was the Department of Justice aware of these practices and DID IT properly enforce the laws that prevent these acts?

Legislative Action:

On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing, “Protecting Infants: Ending Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Providers Who Violate the Law.” The Subcommittee will review two bills to strengthen enforcement against providers who violate the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

On Friday, the House will consider H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Diane Black.

The House will also consider H.R. 3504, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks.

The House passed H.R. 3495 Women’s Public Health and Safety Act by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), a bill that increases states’ flexibility in determining whether individuals or entities that perform or participate in the performance of elective abortions can participate as providers in their Medicaid programs.

Video Release: Planned Parenthood Exposed

 

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