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House Committee Uses Second Hearing on Planned Parenthood To Target Abortion

House Committee Uses Second Hearing on Planned Parenthood To Target Abortion

October 9, 2015 — During its second hearing on Planned Parenthood on Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee targeted abortion procedures rather than examining allegations brought against the organization by the antiabortion-rights group Center for Medical Progress, Politico Pro reports (Mershon, Politico Pro, 10/9).

Background

Three House committees have investigated Planned Parenthood since CMP started releasing misleading videos targeting the organization in July. In addition, the House on Wednesday voted to create a special subcommittee to investigate abortion procedures and fetal tissue procurement (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/8).

The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on Planned Parenthood in September. Representatives from Planned Parenthood were not invited to testify (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/10).

Hearing Details

The latest hearing included testimony from several abortion-rights opponents and only one abortion-rights supporter, Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. In her testimony, Fredrickson said, "It's imperative that abortion remain safe and legal in this country" (Toohey, McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 10/8).

During the hearing, conservative lawmakers again made claims that alternative providers could care for Planned Parenthood patients if the organization is defunded, an argument which has been rejected (Politico Pro, 10/9).

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said, "We should not spend one more minute or one more taxpayer dollar vilifying Planned Parenthood." He added, "[Thursday's hearing], much like the majority's broader attack on Planned Parenthood, is largely a political theater" (Toohey, McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 10/8).

According to the Huffington Post, House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) during the hearing confirmed that the congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood have not found that the organization broke any laws. "Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no," he said. However, he added that he "think[s] there will continue to be investigations" into the organization (Bendery, Huffington Post, 10/8).