Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler pushed back against calls from Democrats to end congressional investigations into abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood.
Hartzler, a Republican, serves on a special House panel tasked with investigating whether abortion providers are profiting from the sale of fetal tissue and whether they have violated any federal laws, among other aspects of the abortion business.
The panel was formed in October after an anti-abortion rights group released undercover video of officials from Planned Parenthood discussing how they harvest fetal tissue for medical research.
Hartzler said Congress has a duty to investigate in the interests of the American people.
Our investigation is not aimed at any specific entity, and if critics of this investigation actually read the resolution they would understand that.
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
“Our investigation is not aimed at any specific entity, and if critics of this investigation actually read the resolution they would understand that,” she said.
Hartzler was responding to a letter sent this week to members of Congress by a group of Democrats, including Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Louise Slaughter of New York. The letter called for an end to what they described as politically motivated investigations into Planned Parenthood.
The letter said the congressional investigations should be dropped following a Texas grand jury’s decision last week to indict the activists who created the video and not Planned Parenthood.
“Our country faces serious challenges when it comes to issues like supporting working families, creating good jobs, and boosting wages,” the letter said. “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.”
Hartzler disagreed. She said her panel’s probe is the result of the American people’s desire and right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.
“The horrific videos showing a disregard for human life raise issues of great public importance,” she said.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund responded that a grand jury and 12 state investigations have confirmed that Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong, and never ‘sold’ fetal tissue.
“The American people don’t want a wasteful witch-hunt – especially when essential health care for millions is at stake,” said Dawn Laguens, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement.
Planned Parenthood received $553.7 million from government health services grants and reimbursements in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, according to its annual report. By law, none of that funding can be used for abortions, which make up about 3 percent of the health care organization’s services to men and women.
This story has been updated to include response from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.