Cecile Richards Tries to Defend Planned Parenthood's Taxpayer Funds at Oversight Hearing

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 11:25 AM
Cecile Richards Tries to Defend Planned Parenthood's Taxpayer Funds at Oversight Hearing

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards had a tough task this morning: defend her organization's right to federal funding in the face of a damning video investigation.

The Center for Medical Progress has captured Planned Parenthood employees giggling over the price of fetal body parts and harvesting aborted babies' organs. The House Oversight Committee held a hearing over the Planned Parenthood investigation currently in effect as they search for answers behind the footage. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, actual abortion survivors testified about Planned Parenthood’s disturbing agenda, which seems to prioritize profit over the right to life. On Tuesday, it was Richards’ turn to face the panel.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) opened the hearing with the important question:

“Does Planned Parenthood really need federal dollars?”

Chaffetz offered an answer, remarking that Planned Parenthood is “pretty good” at fundraising:

“This is an organization that doesn’t need federal subsidy.”

The representative suggested federal funds should be saved for health services like breast cancer screenings. This was a personal issue for Chaffetz, who emotionally shared he lost his mother to the disease. “We don’t spend enough on cancer.”

Since Richards assumed the role of CEO, there has been a reduction in breast cancer screenings, Chaffetz noted. “I don’t understand why.”

After his statements, Democratic representatives Elijah Cummings and Carolyn Maloney dismissed the CMP’s videos as highly edited and a right wing “war against women.”

When Richards’ mic was turned on, she insisted there’s been a great deal of misinformation spewed about her organization.

“These are deceptively edited videos released by a group dedicated to making abortion illegal in this country,” she said.

The federal funding Planned Parenthood receives, Richards explained, allows their doctors and clinics to provide birth control, cancer screenings and medical care for patients with STDs.

“No federal funds pay for abortion funds at Planned Parenthood,” she said. 

The CMP investigation is a “smear campaign” meant to “entrap” Planned Parenthood employees to participate in illegal acts, she added, insisting her organization's using fetal tissue in lifesaving research is "legal.”

“Once again, our opponents failed.”

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) pressed Richards about Planned Parenthood’s revenue from abortions, which appears astronomical since they claim abortion is only 3 percent of its services.

Richards says the revenue can be explained by the reimbursement for preventative care and because abortions are more expensive than other services they provide.

Lummis followed up by asking if Richards could provide a list of the Planned Parenthood clinics that receive most of their income from abortions.

Richards refused to completely comply, saying she will “work with her team.”

For what it’s worth, if Planned Parenthood lost its federal funds, it would still have 59 percent of its income. Pro-life legislators want to see those dollars funneled to health centers.

Oh and this is good timing: A new forensic analysis into the Center for Medical Progress videos has resulted in “no evidence of manipulation.”