GOP’s probe of Planned Parenthood ends, but fight continues

OLYMPIA — A politically contentious investigation by Congressional Republicans into the practices of Planned Parenthood and procuring of fetal tissue for research quietly concluded this week.

It’s almost certain the fight isn’t over.

The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives filed its final report Tuesday, ending a 15-month, $1.59 million undertaking that appears to have been a futile search for damning evidence to hamstring Planned Parenthood operations and halt scientists’ use of fetal tissue in researching cures for a host of illnesses.

GOP leaders submitted the 471-page opus in the waning moments before the 114th Congress adjourned and the new 115th Congress convened.

There was no press release nor news conference, simply a link on the House Energy and Commerce Committee web site. If you didn’t know it was coming, you’d have missed it.

Rep. Suzan DelBenecq JC of Washington, one of the panel’s six Democratic members, knew and didn’t.

“This Panel has been a brazenly partisan and ideological witch-hunt and it should never have been created in the first place,” she said in a statement. DelBene represents the 1st Congressional District, which includes east Snohomish and King counties.

“I have seen firsthand how this so-called investigation has repeatedly shown contempt for the facts and disdain for the truth,” she said. “At a time when fake news is inciting real violence and intimidation, Congress shouldn’t be adding fuel to the fire by spreading extreme anti-choice falsehoods and fabrications in this report.”

The GOP’s silence this week stands in contrast to the impassioned speeches and statements accompanying creation of the panel in October 2015. It was a big deal then as conservative Republicans got the go-ahead and money to carry out a no holds-barred investigation of the nation’s best known provider of family planning and abortion services.

The panel convened hearings and issued subpoenas for mounds of records from colleges, including the University of Washington, and private companies. Its Republican members also sought names of individuals involved in obtaining fetal tissue and performing abortions.

Hidden camera videos alleged to capture Planned Parenthood execs negotiating payments for harvested fetal tissue incited the furor preceding the panel’s creation.

And it didn’t dissipate even after those videos were found to be doctored. However, it did prompt the panel’s Republican majority to add a disclaimer in the report stating : “The Panel did not design its investigation to prove or disprove the credibility of tapes released by the Center for Medical Progress.”

Among the report’s recommendations are a call to ban abortions after 20 weeks, defund Planned Parenthood and give states “greater flexibility” to ban abortion providers from receiving federal funds. They also want to stop donation of fetal tissue from elective terminations and additional federal guidelines for use of human fetal tissue.

What’s next is unclear. Though Republicans aren’t making much of the findings yet, Democrats are bracing for legislation intended to carry many of them out. They worry the House GOP could find allies within the administration of the incoming Republican president.

“While I welcome the conclusion of the Panel, I remain gravely concerned,” DelBene said. “Women, and our country, cannot afford any more of these taxpayer-funded crusades against women’s health.”

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard. It's a commute he can do in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind.
Whidbey commuter paddleboards his way to work in all seasons

The financial advisor says he’s only fallen off his board twice in the past five years.

Photo by Heather Mayhugh
Stuart Peeples demonstrates how to enter Heather Mayhugh's wheelchair van. In recent months, while navigating the new Mukilteo ferry terminal, Mayhugh has struggled to unload her clients who need access to the restroom.
People with mobility issues find new ferry terminal lacking

Some disabled folks say not enough thought went into improving the Mukilteo facility’s accessibility.

Temporary Lake Stevens Library to open this summer

The location will serve as the Sno-Isle branch until the proposed civic center campus is complete.

$500,000 available for Edmonds nonprofits

Organizations can apply for Edmonds Rescue Plan funds until Aug. 20.

Parts of Snohomish County under weekend heat advisory

Monroe and areas of the county near the Cascades were expected to see highs in the 90s.

Marysville man wins $100,000 in military vaccine lottery

Carmen S., who served in the Vietnam War, claimed his $100,000 cash prize this week.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
State AG says it can’t investigate Lynnwood Jail death

Tirhas Tesfatsion’s family pushed Lynnwood leaders for an independent inquiry. Her death was ruled a suicide.

JaNeen Aagaard donates blood at Bloodworks NW Friday afternoon in Everett at July 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Blood shortage strains local agencies, hospitals

Some blood types have reached critically low levels, and blood collection agencies are pleading for donations.

COVID-19 case reported at crowded Lynnwood council meeting

A person who attended the Monday meeting tested positive for the coronavirus just days later.

Most Read