On August 14, the Committee sent letters to Ms. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Burwell to better understand the role of federal funding in Planned Parenthood operations.
In that HHS provides a significant portion of the federal funds that Planned Parenthood receives, the Committee seeks to understand the Department’s oversight of these funds including what restrictions or regulations apply to the use of funding provided by HHS to Planned Parenthood or its affiliates.
Additionally, the Committee is interested in understanding what medical services are provided by Planned Parenthood that are not provided by a state’s Medicaid program or by a plan provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
On September 9, Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan sent letters to StemExpress and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). 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.
On September 15, Chairman Chaffetz issued a subpoena to CMP for all unedited video footage in their possession relating to the acquisition, preparation, and sale of fetal tissue.
On September 18, Chairmen Chaffetz and Jordan 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 the deadline of September 21.
On September 22, the 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.
On September 29, the Committee held a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding and published a memo of its findings on the Planned Parenthood Investigation.
On October 14, the Committee received all unedited video footage from CMP as required by a subpoena. A viewing room was set up where all Committee members and staff – majority and minority – have equal access to view the footage.
“This is a good, tangible result of the collective efforts of the House in investigating Planned Parenthood. It is helpful in taking away some questions surrounding their transactions involving fetal tissue. Significant questions still remain about Planned Parenthood’s finances. 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. The Committee will continue its investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal taxpayer dollars.”
SEPTEMBER 29 HEARING
Interior Subcommittee Chairman Lummis: “How can you explain this massive disparity between the amount of revenue you collect from abortion, and the fact that you only report 3 percent of your services being abortion?”
Rep. Mulvaney: “If we took $60 million away, you could still perform every single service that you gave last year.”
Rep. Black: “So you will acknowledge that they [community health clinic] outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics?”
Ms. Richards: “I’m happy to acknowledge that.”
In light of disturbing videos that emerged in July detailing fetal tissue procurement among Planned Parenthood facilities and affiliates, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee launched an investigation into the use of federal funds surrounding transactions involving fetal tissue.
In the videos, Planned Parenthood representatives discuss the demand for certain body parts, the manner in which patient consent is solicited, pricing considerations, and the methods by which doctors manipulate procedures to ensure that tissue and organs of fetuses remain intact.
In one video, a Planned Parenthood official discusses how doctors modify procedures to preserve intact fetal specimens that can be provided to research firms in exchange for money. The Planned Parenthood official also discusses how reimbursement amounts can be manipulated.