Wyden Calls for End to Taxpayer-Funded Partisan Planned Parenthood Investigations
Oregon Senator Joins Colleagues in letter to Republicans demanding end to taxpayer-funded, politically-motivated Planned Parenthood investigations
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden joined Democratic colleagues in calling 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.
Wyden met in Medford last weekend with Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. He and his fellow Democrats joined their colleagues in both chambers on a letter this week 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.
In their letter Tuesday to Republicans, the lawmakers wrote: “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.”
Twelve states join the Texas Grand Jury—Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota— and 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.
Senate sponsors include Wyden, Senators Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), 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;
· 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.
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