Congress Launches Historic Investigation into Planned Parenthood

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards could not have been happy on September 15 when she was served with a letter from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce announcing the opening of an official investigation and demanding financial and other documentation dating back 20 years  in an effort to ascertain if the company is misusing federal funds and violating the law regarding the reporting of suspected sexual abuse and the aiding and abetting of sex traffickers. is reporting that the letter, sent by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations, is requesting an extensive list of documents such as all internal financial audits of the abortion giant and its 83 affiliates that took place within the last 12 years, all state audits for the last 20 years, detailed information about improper billing procedures and information about the company’s service and referral practices.

“Pursuant to Rules X and XI of the United States House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is examining the institutional practices and policies of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates, and its handing of federal funding,” Stearns writes. “That Committee has questions about the politics in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion.”

The letter also requests any information related to improper billing related to federally-funded programs and proof that federal funds are not being improperly used to pay for abortions by PPFA or its affiliates.

The Committee is also interested in learning more about Planned Parenthood policies and procedures for dealing with victims of statutory rape and sex trafficking. This request comes on the heels of several widely publicized undercover sting operations that took place within the last year exposing the cover-up of crimes by clinic employees.

“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.” It also asks for documentation about the policies and procedures in place “to ensure that suspected sex trafficking is reported to the proper authorities.”

Planned Parenthood responded by sending out an indignant tweet on Twitter saying “Stearns is misusing his position to attack Planned Parenthood and women’s health care.”

She called the investigation “politically motivated” and a “continuation of the efforts of earlier this year to undermine Planned Parenthood, and more disturbingly, women’s access to the primary and preventive care they need.”

Her sentiments were echoed in a response to Stearn’s request issued by pro-abortion Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the Committee, who called the document request “extraordinarily broad and burdensome” and requested that he reconsider the investigation. “Your fervent ideological opposition to Planned Parenthood does not justify launching this intrusive investigation,” he wrote. 

Americans United for Life (AUL) President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called the news of the investigation “a historic first step in getting the American taxpayer out of the business of subsidizing abortion.”

Earlier this summer, AUL staff provided Congress with an extensive report based on a review of 20 years worth of Planned Parenthood financial data in which they found evidence of 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 people engaged in prostitution or sex trafficking, and the dangerous use of the abortion drug RU-486. 

“AUL welcomes the news that Congress is investigating the abortion mega-provider Planned Parenthood for financial improprieties and its poor handling of the public trust,” Yoest said. “AUL’s groundbreaking report on Planned Parenthood released this summer outlines a template for investigators and provides extensive information on the abortion giant. The American taxpayer does not want to be in the business of abortion, and this investigation is an important first step toward ending public funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider.”

The Committee is giving Planned Parenthood two weeks from the date of the letter to comply with their requests.

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