Planned Parenthood: Rep. Stearns’ Politically Motivated Investigation Is Latest Attempt to Undermine Health Care Millions Count On
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) expressed disappointment that Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has put politics before lifesaving health care by launching what appears to be a politically motivated investigation and demanding an onerous amount of records from PPFA and its 83 affiliates, some going as far back as 13 years.
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit health care provider that provides professional, reliable and quality health care, including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment to three million women and men across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This politically motivated investigation is 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.”
PPFA and its affiliates have a strong record of fiscal responsibility and have, always complied with all laws and regulations applicable to the receipt and use of federal funds.
Similar to other health care providers and nonprofit organizations, PPFA and its affiliates routinely work with government regulators, nonprofit foundation donors, and independent auditors to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations regarding the funding Planned Parenthood health centers receive, whether it is a private contribution, a foundation grant, or federal or state funding, such as Medicaid reimbursements. Anytime an irregularity is discovered, it is taken seriously and handled swiftly and appropriately.
“At a time when the American people need jobs, some members of Congress are instead misusing their political power to go after health care access for the most vulnerable women in the country,” said Richards. “We are certain that the millions of women and men who count on Planned Parenthood will make their voices heard and speak out, just as they did during the budget battle in the spring.”
“As Rep. Stearns’ constituent, as well as a small business owner and a longtime Planned Parenthood patient, I am angry that Rep. Stearns is attacking Planned Parenthood for political reasons,” said Lorraine McGill. “Planned Parenthood has been my primary provider of women’s health care for nearly 20 years. I go there for my Pap tests, cancer screenings, and birth control. The doctors, nurses, and all other employees at Planned Parenthood have always been caring and compassionate.”
McGill, who lives in Gainesville, Florida, added, “This is exactly why so many people have issues with Congress. Instead of wasting their time and resources on ideology, they should be helping more women get the care they need.”
Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in a letter to Congressman Stearns, wrote, “We are aware of no predicate that would justify this sweeping and invasive request to Planned Parenthood. The HHS Inspector General and state Medicaid programs regularly audit Planned Parenthood and report publicly on their findings. These audits have not identified any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity, or other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive congressional investigation.”
Congressman Waxman and Congresswoman DeGette’s letter continues: “It would be an abuse of the oversight process if you are now using the Committee’s investigative powers to harass Planned Parenthood again. Your fervent ideological opposition to Planned Parenthood does not justify launching this intrusive investigation.”
The full text of Congressman Waxman and Congresswoman DeGette’s letter can be found HERE.
While extremely disappointed to again be a political target, PPFA has already contacted the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and is responding to the request in a timely manner. As a trusted nonprofit health care provider to three million people, Planned Parenthood affiliates takes seriously their role as a financial steward of contributions, grants, and government funding.
This spring, members of Congress opposed to birth control and abortion failed in their attack on women’s health services and Planned Parenthood.
“We are confident that any fair-minded person will see through this politically motivated investigation, the purpose of which appears to be undermining access to care,” said Richards. “As people learn about this latest attack on their health care provider, they will speak out and stand with us to protect access to health care for women and families.”
September 27, 2011