GOP chairwoman defends abortion probe after Planned Parenthood shootings

GOP chairwoman defends abortion probe after Planned Parenthood shootings
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The leader of the GOP-controlled House committee charged with investigating abortion providers is defending its mission in the wake of a deadly rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed MORE (R-Tenn.) on Monday forcefully fought back against calls from Democrats like Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) to disband the committee, which they say has intensified anti-abortion rhetoric that contributed to the shooting.

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In a statement to The Hill on Monday, Blackburn condemned the shooting as “deplorable” and accused Boxer of seizing on the incident for her party’s political gain.

“Instead of playing politics with this tragedy, maybe those on the left, like Senator Barbara Boxer, should actually take the time to read the resolution establishing the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” Blackburn said. “At no point does it mention Planned Parenthood.

“We are focused on a fact-finding mission into abortion practices and fetal tissue procurement and the relationship between the two businesses,” added Blackburn, who was tapped by new House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Krystal Ball issues warning to Biden supporters Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP MORE (R-Wis.) to lead the 13-member committee last month.

Blackburn’s remarks come two days after Boxer released a statement calling for Ryan to disband the committee, which she said “was set up only to continue this witch hunt against Planned Parenthood."

The committee was formed this fall by then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE (R-Ohio) as one of his final acts in office. While its charter does not mention Planned Parenthood, the committee has been billed as the GOP’s response to claims in a series of undercover videos that the health provider has illegally profited from fetal tissue donations.

The allegations have not been proven, though it has provoked anti-abortion protests across the country.

In an interview with CNN earlier this month, Ryan redoubled his commitment to the oversight of Planned Parenthood and the federal dollars it receives.

"We're just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That's important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver's seat overseeing this process," he said.

Several abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, have said that last week's attack in Colorado Springs is further proof of the damage done by the videos leaked earlier this year. According to several reports, the alleged gunman mentioned “no more baby parts” to police during his arrest. Police have declined to discuss a motive.

- This story was updated at 1:55 p.m.