It seems like every other day I’m reading about how Republican’s are attacking reproductive health care in some way, shape, or form. Planned Parenthood is the most common target and it seems like they are at it again. Since blocking funding to Planned Parenthood failed; Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) has decided to misuse his authority as the chairman on the Oversights and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee of Energy and Commerce, to launch an effective witch hunt against Planned Parenthood by performing an unnecessary audit.
An audit of an organization that receives federal funding may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it really kind of is. Yes, Planned Parenthood receives federal funds and should thus be held accountable for how they spend that money… and they are. They are regularly audited by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General as well as state Medicaid programs that cover abortions. If there were any indication that Planned Parenthood was misusing federal funds, someone would have caught it by now right? So I think it’s safe to assume that this has nothing to do with misuse of funds. This is just another continuation of the Republican attack on reproductive health.
His colleagues have even pointed this out to him; Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Diana DeGette (D-CO) wrote him a joint letter asking him to end this ridiculous audit before wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds on an inevitable fruitless investigation. The investigation itself is beyond cumbersome and can have no real purpose other than to try and tie up Planned Parenthood resources.
For the audit Rep. Stearns sent a letter to Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards a letter requesting all financial documents from all Planned Parenthood Affiliates. That is records for 83 different locations, and he wants these records going back 12 years. He wants them delivered in two weeks. Any claim that this investigation is meant to be anything other than an attack are clearly absurd. I’m pretty sure if you only gave me two weeks to prepare I’d have a hard time getting the documents for a personal audit together going back the 8 years I’ve been working, much less the records for 83 different locations for a full 12 years.
This whole thing leaves me wondering what is going on with Republicans. I can only assume that they have no ideas on how to fix the economy so rather than focusing on that, they are focusing on controlling women’s bodies instead.