Shaheen Calls for End to Taxpayer-Funded, Partisan Planned Parenthood Investigations

**Leads Democratic Colleagues in letter to Republicans calling for an end to taxpayer-funded investigation of Planned Parenthood**

February 02, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and their Democratic colleagues called for an end to ongoing, politically-motivated House and Senate investigations into Planned Parenthood, in light of the many independent state investigations across the country that have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.

The Democrats joined their colleagues in both chambers on a letter to Republicans calling for an end to partisan investigations of Planned Parenthood in the House and Senate, following the Texas grand jury’s decision last week to exonerate Planned Parenthood and indict the creators of the highly fabricated, deceptive undercover videos designed to discredit Planned Parenthood and undermine women’s access to health care on federal charges.

“The so-called ‘Center for Medical Progress’ set out from the beginning to limit women’s reproductive rights. Since their misleading videos have come out, twelve states have conducted independent investigations and every one of them has cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing,” said Shaheen. “It’s time to follow the facts rather than ideology. The taxpayer shouldn’t be footing the bill for politically motivated investigations, which is why I’m calling for this investigation of Planned Parenthood in Congress to end.”

In addition to the grand jury in Texas, twelve states—Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota—have concluded independent investigations and cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. An additional eight states—California, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado—have declined to even investigate, citing a lack of evidence.

Senate sponsors include Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Murray (D-WA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sanders (D-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Brown (D-OH), Baldwin (D-WI), Markey (D-MA), Murphy (D-CT), Gillibrand (D-NY), Wyden (D-OR), Whitehouse (D-RI), Feinstein (D-CA), Hirono (D-HI), Stabenow (D-MI), Schatz (D-HI), Franken (D-MN), Warren (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), and Reid (D-NV).

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Speaker Ryan, Majority Leaders McCarthy and McConnell, and Majority Whip Cornyn:

As you know, on Monday, January 25th, 2016, a Texas grand jury exonerated Planned Parenthood and instead, indicted the creators of highly edited, deceptive videos designed to undermine our nation’s largest provider of women’s health care on felony charges of tampering with government records. In addition to the Texas grand jury, twelve other states have concluded independent investigations and cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.

In light of overwhelming evidence that the House and Senate’s taxpayer-funded efforts to undermine Planned Parenthood are based purely on political pandering, not facts, we write today to again encourage that Congressional Republicans disband the House Select Investigative Committee, end all ongoing Congressional investigations examining Planned Parenthood, and stop to political efforts to undermine women’s access to health care.

The willful misuse of federal resources to push an anti-women and anti-abortion agenda in the Congress is both inappropriate and wasteful. Since July 15, 2015, when the Center for Medical Progress first released deceptive, edited videos designed to discredit Planned Parenthood, Congressional Republicans have launched five separate investigations into Planned Parenthood, four in the House and one in the Senate. The House has voted five times and the Senate three times to defund Planned Parenthood, and House Republicans held a five-hour hearing with Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Cecile Richards, in which her attempts to provide informed responses were repeatedly rebuffed.

The inappropriate political nature of Congressional Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood is especially stark in light of overwhelming evidence clearing Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. Twelve states—Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota—have concluded independent state investigations and cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. An additional eight states—California, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado—have declined to even investigate, citing a lack of evidence of wrongdoing in the first place.

These House and Senate “investigations” not only undermine taxpayers’ trust in Congress’s integrity, but they also put women and families at risk. Already, the House Select Investigative Committee has engaged in a widespread “document collection” process that is undermining the privacy and safety of patients, healthcare providers, and scientists seeking cures through medical research—while wasting valuable federal resources in the process.

The Select Committee’s targeting of women who have received abortions, and the doctors that provide them with such care, is dangerous and a deeply concerning violation of patient privacy and the public trust.

As the Republican District Attorney of Harris County said, “[W]e must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury.” Unfortunately, the House Select Committee does not wish to focus on the evidence, including the concerning number of illegal activities in which the perpetrators chose to engage

We urge you to use this as an opportunity to:

·        

disband the taxpayer funded Select Investigative Committee on Planned Parenthood and all other ongoing Congressional investigations;

·        

fully reimburse U.S. taxpayers the more than $400,000 that Republicans have wasted to create the Committee;

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and put an end to the partisan political attempts to appeal to extreme conservatives by undermining women’s health and rights.

Our country faces serious challenges when it comes to issues like supporting working families, creating good jobs, and boosting wages. The families and communities we represent rightly want us focused on efforts like these—not political attempts to undermine women’s access to health care and investigate their personal health care decisions. We urge you to listen to them.

Sincerely,

CC: Chairman Blackburn, Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Upton, Chairman Chaffetz, and Chairman Grassley