House Republicans are not letting up in their investigations of Planned Parenthood, after the group announced Tuesday it is ending its controversial practice of accepting compensation for fetal tissue donations.
Top Republicans, like House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzSecret Service agents set for discipline after fence-jumping incident: report Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team House Oversight grills law enforcement on facial recognition tech MORE (R-Utah), are seizing on Planned Parenthood’s policy change as a “good, tangible result” of the investigations. But he and others said it’s not enough to end the inquiries.
“Significant questions still remain about Planned Parenthood's finances,” Chaffetz, a candidate for Speaker, wrote in a statement.
“I’m glad to see Planned Parenthood is finally recognizing the need to end this disgusting practice,” added Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP rep: ObamaCare debate like trying get kids 'through bathtime' Senate on the verge of vote to kill FCC's consumer privacy protections Overnight Tech: Lawmakers spar over rural broadband | Twitter sees bump in government data requests | Bill Gates visits Capitol Hill MORE (R-Tenn.), vice chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is leading a separate investigation.
“However, there are still many questions yet to be answered surrounding Planned Parenthood's business practices and relationships with the procurement organizations. This is exactly why the House is investigating abortion practices and how we can better protect life.”
Planned Parenthood has been under investigation since August after anti-abortion activists released videos accusing several clinics of trying to profit from fetal tissue that is donated for medical research. The health provider has forcefully denied the claims, arguing that the money it receives from procurement companies is only used to cover Planned Parenthood’s expenses.
Only one affiliate in the U.S. still received compensation before the policy change was announced. Still, conservatives say Planned Parenthood’s move adds fuel to the allegations.
“It is curious that, while Planned Parenthood officials maintain there has been no wrongdoing, they still find it necessary to change their policy following the recent undercover videos,” said Rep. Diane BlackDiane BlackObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote Medicaid block grants give states more freedom Dems wonder: Can GOP even pass a budget? MORE (R-Tenn.), who has helped lead the push against Planned Parenthood in the House.
She also blasted the decision as one “motivated by optics rather than the organization’s conscience” — arguing that Planned Parenthood’s larger offense is allowing abortions to take place in its clinics.
“Cecile Richards’ letter is right about one thing: the fight against Planned Parenthood is not just about its use of fetal tissue. It is about how we treat a human life and how we ensure that the conscience rights of American taxpayers are respected,” Black wrote in her statement.
“This is a fight we must continue,” she added.
Already, the videos from The Center for Medical Progress have prompted investigations by four congressional committees. The House also voted last week to create a special investigative panel, to be led by Blackburn, which will have its own committee staff and budget to deepen its probe.
That panel does not yet have members, and a spokeswoman for House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerGOP rushes to vote without knowing full impact of healthcare plan Dem senator to reintroduce ‘buy American’ legislation GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes MORE (R-Ohio), who will have a say in deciding its makeup, did not respond to requests for comment.
Another House Republican, Rep. Kevin YoderKevin YoderVulnerable Republicans feel the heat on ObamaCare replacement bill The Hill's Whip List: 34 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House MORE (Kan.), is using Tuesday’s announcement as a push for his legislation that would ban any organization from receiving compensation for fetal tissue procurement.
Congress now has “seemingly no excuse” not to pass the Prohibiting the Life-Ending Industry of Fetal Organ Exchange (Pro-LIFE) Act, a spokesman for Yoder said Tuesday. “Planned Parenthood now even seems to agree with our position we've had since July and shared by 60 other members.”