BREAKING: 50 Groups Demand Paul Ryan End Select Panel One Year After Extremist Attack on Planned Parenthood
For Immediate Release: July 14, 2016
Today, 50 groups are calling on Speaker Paul Ryan to once and for all end the harmful and dangerous witch hunt carried out by the Select Investigative Panel, which, as The New York Timesput it, is conducting “an investigation that has never had any reason to exist.”
Groups representing millions of Americans, sent two lettersthis week to Speaker Ryan, one released by the American Civil Liberties Union and another released by a coalition of reproductive health organizations, calling on Ryan to put an end to an investigation which has abused its subpoena power, wasted taxpayer dollars and had the effect of delaying lifesaving research (in the midst of the spreading Zika virus which could be supported by the use of fetal tissue, no less) and jeopardized the health and safety of patients, researchers and doctors.
Senator Patty Murray yesterday introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate echoing calls to to disband the Select Panel
Under Speaker Ryan’s watch, Chairman Blackburn has ignored facts and abused Congressional subpoena power. In fact, even Republican Chairman Jason Chaffetz admitted,after months of inquiries and reviewing tens of thousands of pages of information, that he had not found a shred of wrongdoing.
Reproductive rights group write in a letter sent this morning:
“The impact on research and medical progress has been devastating. Fetal tissue is critical to the development of cures and treatments for life-threatening and debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and the Zika virus. The Panel’s actions have intimidated researchers and stymied this important work.[i]Those who stand to suffer as a result of the Panel’s politicization of science are not just the researchers, but anyone who could benefit from this type of medical research—including millions of Americans, as well as the mothers and their babies affected by Zika around the world.
“With funding from an account under your control, the Panel has been allowed to continue this destructive investigation in a manner that flouts Congressional standards and common decency. It continues to waste taxpayer dollars—reportedly as much as $790,000 and counting—on a witch hunt that puts people’s lives and well-beings at risk.
“We urge you to disband the Panel and end this thinly-veiled attempt to restrict access to abortion care.”
The ACLU led coalition writes:
“We are writing to you as a community of organizations that advocate for civil rights and civil liberties, good government, health, science, the environment, LGBT, immigrants’ and women’s rights, and labor unions, all deeply concerned by the Select Investigative Panel’s conduct over the last nine months. We believe the Panel’s actions offend basic standards of fairness and respect for the rights of American citizens and the bounds of courtesy and propriety that are the hallmark of truly bipartisan special congressional investigations. The power of Congress to investigate may be broad, but it is not limitless…”
“The actions of the Select Investigative Panel are causing serious harm to individuals, to medical providers, and to medical research. The Panel has endangered patients and staff at health centers, which have become targets of vicious attacks. Millions in the United States and around the globe will suffer if research regarding cures and vaccines for devastating diseases continues to be delayed. All the while, the Panel has acted imperiously and in contravention of the rules and customs of the House. Given the unchecked harm and lack of transparency in use of taxpayer dollars, we urge you to disband the Select Investigative Panel in the name of fairness to those negatively impacted by this misguided endeavor."
Background: Investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing and extremists have been indicted on felony charges
So far, officials in thirteen states (Arizona, Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada and South Dakota) have concluded investigations into claims that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donation and each one has cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.
In addition, officials in eight states (California, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado) declined to even investigate Planned Parenthood citing a lack of any evidence to suggest wrongdoing.
As a result of the many investigations debunking the false allegations in these videos, New Hampshire’s Executive Council recently votedto restore funding to Planned Parenthood, with council member Chris Sununu, a Republican who is running for governor, switching his vote and acknowledging there was no justification for blocking access last year.
In Florida, the Scott administration has been called out for “scrubbing” a press release and lodging patently false accusations against Planned Parenthood. At both the federal and state level, news reports have confirmed that politicians are working in coordination with anti-abortion extremists behind the smear campaign, including officials inTexas and in Congress (read morehere andhere).
Just this week, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to protect access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Utah, stating that Utah Governor Herbert clearly used the deceptive anti-abortion videos for political gain, even though Herbert himself conceded “that the allegations made by CMP are unproven and in fact false.”
Background: The Accusations Are False and Thoroughly Debunked
Planned Parenthood has never, would never, and will never sell fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in just two states, or around one percent of Planned Parenthood health centers, help women who have had an abortion donate fetal tissue to medical research if they chose to do so. While this is a very small part of the services offered at very few health centers, fetal tissue donation for medical research has led to important lifesaving scientific breakthroughs that have saved millions of people’s lives. This research has long had bipartisan support.
This is not the first time anti-abortion extremists have made this type of accusation against Planned Parenthood, yet each time the accusations have been thoroughly debunked.Read about the 15 years of eerily similar politically-motivated attacks by anti-abortion extremists against Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
July 14, 2016