House Dems press Ryan to end Planned Parenthood investigation
Top House Democrats are demanding that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) end investigations into Planned Parenthood in the wake of last week’s deadly shootings, which they say was incited by fiery political rhetoric against abortion.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — along with six Democrats tapped for the GOP-led committee investigating Planned Parenthood — sent a letter to Ryan on Tuesday urging him to end the probe.
“The incendiary language and rhetoric being used associated with this committee is disgusting,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said at a press briefing Tuesday, minutes after the House held a moment of silence for last Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
“It’s time for us to take down this committee and take down the vitriolic comments,” she said.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), another member of the panel, also emphasized the role that the heated political debate over abortion has played in the uptick in violence against the group.
“It is my humble suggestion, as a congresswoman from Colorado, that we all take it down a notch,” DeGette added Tuesday.
The letter comes the day after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made the same case, saying lawmakers “bring people into a frenzy of hate and anger” with the campaign against abortion.
The multiple congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood were triggered by a series of undercover “sting” videos this summer, which accused the group of harvesting and profiting off aborted fetal organs.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) first called for the end of Congress’s Planned Parenthood probe this weekend, shortly after Friday’s shooting in which three people were gunned down outside a clinic.
That clinic had been targeted in the undercover videos produced by an anti-abortion group called Center for Medical Progress. While the videos are at times graphic and disturbing, the footage does not show wrongdoing.
Still, the videos have prompted five congressional investigations and more in the states — as well as an aggressive outreach from abortion opponents across the country to defund Planned Parenthood.
Since the shooting, opponents of Planned Parenthood have sharply condemned the violence while accusing Democrats of politicizing the incident
“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,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who chairs the special investigatory panel, wrote in a statement to The Hill on Monday.
“We are focused on a fact-finding mission into abortion practices and fetal tissue procurement and the relationship between the two businesses,” she added.