- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Gov’t watchdog asked to look again at Planned Parenthood finances
A group of 72 lawmakers have revived an effort to ask the government’s watchdog agency to scrutinize taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood and five other organizations who provide family-planning services.
The request for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) probe — which drew a sharp response from Planned Parenthood — focuses on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the Guttmacher Institute, Advocates for Youth and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Pro-life groups have long pushed Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood, noting that although by law federal funds may not be used directly to pay for abortions, Planned Parenthood receives about $1 million a day in federal funding for its other services.
“Planned Parenthood and other organizations who provide abortions are dependent on Uncle Sam, but there is no accounting with what they are actually using the money for. This GAO report would shine a light on how tax dollars are being spent,” said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, and one of the coauthors of a recent letter to the GAO.
Last year, Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions and received a record $542 million in federal funding — up 11 percent since 2011, Mr. Vitter said.
“My hope is that through greater transparency and accountability, we can successfully mobilize the support needed to de-fund abortion providers, once and for all,” said Rep. Diane L. Black, Tennessee Republican, one of 66 House members who signed the letter.
Other senators who signed the letter are Republican Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, James Risch of Idaho, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, rejected what she called “political attacks” from “out-of-touch politicians.”
“At a time when the American people want Congress to focus on creating jobs and preventing the looming budget cuts, it is ridiculous that some members of Congress are instead focused on launching baseless political attacks aimed at restricting women’s access to preventive health care,” Ms. Richards said.
Planned Parenthood health centers, like other health care providers, “are reimbursed by the government for providing specific preventive health services,” such as cervical-cancer screenings, breast exams, testing for disease and birth control for low-income patients, she said.
The congressional letter to the GAO asks for details on the amount and sources of federal funding to these organizations since 2010.
GAO investigators were also asked to collect data on how many women’s health services are provided by Community Health Centers and federally qualified health centers, as well as the number of individuals who have received services.
Pro-life groups, citing concerns that federal funds are subsidizing abortions, have long pushed Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood. In particular, Americans United for Life issued a lengthy report critical of Planned Parenthood in July 2011.
A previous GAO report on Planned Parenthood finances was conducted “before we learned what many feared to be true — that Planned Parenthood has failed to properly follow correct billing practices to prevent federal tax dollars from funding abortion services, as demanded by law,” said Rep. Pete Olson, Texas Republican. A new GAO report “is critically needed,” he said.
Ms. Richards said that her organization would continue to provide health care to 3 million people a year at more than 750 Planned Parenthood health centers, “even while fending off political attacks.”
These services include giving birth-control information and services to 2 million patients; nearly 600,000 Pap tests; 640,000 breast exams; and nearly 4.5 million tests for sexual disease, including HIV, according to the organization’s annual report for 2011-2012.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Judge voids N. Dakota's 'heartbeat' abortion law
- Family, agency in custody battle over sick daughter
- Values group wins court round over use of gay marriage photo
- Gay-photo lawsuit partially dismissed
- Some gay activists fear same-sex supporters are becoming intolerant
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.