Democrats typically jump at the chance to hold hearings and launch investigations of their political enemies. And they’ve often done so, on everything from the oil and fast-food industries to just about all of what George W. Bush did while in office.
But they’ve finally found an investigation they adamantly oppose. House Republicans are set to investigate Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business. Predictably, Democrats are howling, which is an indication of both the Democrats fealty to the abortion industry and of their concern over what the investigation may uncover.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, sent the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) a six-page letter asking for more than a decade of documents that would help determine whether the organization is illegally using federal funds to pay for abortions.
Federal law prohibits taxpayer funds from being used for abortions. The law reflects a broad public consensus that taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Opinion polls regularly show that 70% of Americans oppose public funding of most abortions.
Beyond the financial issues, the investigation will look into other alleged abuses, including allegations that Planned Parenthood has failed to report cases of statutory rape and sex trafficking.
Planned Parenthood insists that the more than $360 million a year it receives in federal funding is kept separate from its abortion business. Stearns wants to know how “segregation between family planning and abortion services is accomplished,” and how it is monitored for compliance.
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that manages to turn a rather large profit. With a billion-dollar plus budget, its fiscal 2009 net profit was $21.7 million, according to its Internal Revenue Service Form 990 tax filing.
Democrats have responded with predicable claims that the investigation is an attempt to undermine women’s health and wage war against women. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) called the investigation an “abusive witch hunt by Republicans.”
Perhaps reading from the same set of talking points, Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the investigation a “political witch hunt.”
Wasserman Schultz, who’s also chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and a regular headliner at Planned Parenthood fund-raisers, also said, “The scope and nature of this investigation is unprecedented, invasive and the Big Brother equivalent of modern day denial-of-service attack.”
Representatives Henry Waxman (Calif.) and Diana DeGette (Colo.), both pro-abortion rights Democrats, sent a letter to Stearns last week claiming that the investigation is “part of a Republican vendetta.”
Waxman knows a thing or two about vendettas. In 2006, he conducted an investigation of pro-life pregnancy resource centers and claimed that the centers provide “false and misleading information” about abortion and its effects on women. Democrats should be careful with their use of words such as “abusive” and “attack.” As I mentioned, Planned Parenthood is also being investigated over a clear pattern of its clinics covering up abuse of women and girls, including statutory rape and sex trafficking.
According to a report issued in July by Americans United for Life (AUL), Planned Parenthood’s recent history of abuse and scandal also includes failure to comply with parental involvement laws, misuse of the abortion drug RU486, willingness to provide women with inaccurate and misleading information, and willingness to refer to substandard clinics.
Planned Parenthood and its advocates routinely claim that abortion represents only a small fraction of its services. Yes, Planned Parenthood does perform other services, such as STD testing and adoption referral. But abortion provision is clearly its mission. Last year, PPFA issued a mandate that by 2013, every affiliate will be required to have at least one clinic that performs abortions. For every one adoption referral Planned Parenthood conducts, it performs 300 abortions. AUL calculated that abortion represents more than 97% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy-related services and 37% of its total “clinic income” in 2009, a share that has steadily increased over the last three decades.
The Democratic Party’s mantra of late has been “shared sacrifice.” But when it comes to the abortion industry and its funding, Democrats have shown they aren’t willing to sacrifice even a dime of abortion subsidies.
Democrats were willing to blow up their own health care bill and risk a federal government shutdown over abortion funding. They will likely do everything they can to stop these investigations from moving ahead.
Planned Parenthood advertises itself as America’s “most trusted provider of sexual and reproductive health care.” The pro-abortion-rights crowd is responding to news of Rep. Stearns’ investigation with fury because it knows the increased scrutiny will irrevocably tarnish Planned Parenthood’s well-honed image.