On Saturday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced House Republicans will assemble a new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood, one of many formed since the release of several deceptively-edited “sting” videos by anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). The videos, which CMP claims capture the illegal sale of fetal tissue, have since been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked. Meanwhile, two Planned Parenthood clinics in two different states have been set on fire in apparent arson.
According to Blackburn, the committee’s creation is the first part of a three-pronged strategy devised to limit abortion rights in the wake of CMP’s fraudulent videos. The committee, to be chaired by Blackburn under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to push the passage of “additional pro-life measures” through Congress and “break the Senate logjam” by crafting a budget reconciliation package with the intent of defunding Planned Parenthood.
House Democrats, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, were swift to condemn the House Republicans’ actions, alleging the lawmakers are “trying to make it easier to shut down the government and harder for millions of women to access the lifesaving health care.”
“One in five American women has relied on a Planned Parenthood health center in her lifetime,” said Pelosi in a statement Saturday. “Hard-working families deserve better than a taxpayer-funded Republican Committee fixated on dismantling women’s health.”
The introduction of a new investigative committee is the latest in a string of maneuvers by conservative lawmakers wishing to defund Planned Parenthood as attempts in recent weeks to attach the issue to a federal funding bill that must pass in Congress Wednesday or risk government shutdown have failed.
To date, state and federal inquiries into Planned Parenthood have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, attacks against Planned Parenthood Clinics have been happening across the country. Just last week a Planned Parenthood clinic was set on fire in California in an apparent arson, as a bottle filled with flammable liquid was thrown through a window. The clinic is working to assess damage and re-open as quickly as possible. And last month, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington was also set on fire. Police have determined this case arson, and this clinic sustained significant damage burning for almost three hours before fire fighters were able to quell the blaze.
Media Resources: The Hill 9/27/15; Pelosi Statement 9/26/15; Feminist Newswire 9/9/15;