Reps. Hartzler, Black, Smith, Walker, and King hold news conference with Live Action to respond to Planned Parenthood’s deliberate failures to follow laws requiring it to report child sexual abuse
Washington, D.C. – Fifty six members of Congress today called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to begin an investigation into Planned Parenthood after a report released last week detailed Planned Parenthood’s decades-long history of performing abortions on sexual abuse victims as young as 12 and failing to report the abuse to authorities.
The report and video docuseries from Live Action include victim accounts, court cases, state health department reports, undercover footage, and former employee testimonies that show the abortion chain deliberately ignores laws requiring it to alert authorities when children come to its facilities showing signs of sexual abuse.
House Values Action Team Chairwoman Vicky Hartzler (R, MO-04) and members of Congress Chris Smith (R, NJ-04), Mark Walker (R, NC-06), Diane Black (R, TN-06), and Steve King (R, IA-04) reacted to the report today and spoke about the need they and their colleagues see for an investigation.
Former Representative Marilyn Musgrave, speaking on behalf of Susan B. Anthony List, and Laura Lederer, a leading anti-sex trafficking expert and president of Global Centurion, a group dedicated to fighting modern day slavery, also made statements.
The letter from Congress to HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II states in part:
“The report’s findings suggest that abusers feel comfortable taking their victims to Planned Parenthood. We are therefore requesting an investigation into Title X recipients, particularly Planned Parenthood, to determine how widespread this failure is and if there are other instances where Planned Parenthood failed in its duty to report suspected child abuse to local authorities and to HHS.”
Members have requested that HHS turn over records regarding all incidents of Planned Parenthood’s Title X recipients’ failures to report suspected sexual abuse of minors in their care, records of the steps taken to bring recipients into compliance with reporting laws, and documentation of any disciplinary actions.
Since 1999, federal regulations have made clear the expectation that organizations that receive federal Title X “family planning” grants follow state laws mandating the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse and rape. Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding, receiving about $60 million annually through the program. It is also the nation’s largest abortion provider. In 2015, 474 of nearly 650 Planned Parenthood facilities received Title X funding.
The Live Action report, titled “Aiding Abusers: Planned Parenthood’s Cover-Up of Child Sexual Abuse,” was released on May 30, less than a week after the Trump administration proposed new rules for the Title X program that would strengthen the reporting language. The new rules would now require all Title X recipients to follow the laws and document how they handle reporting sex crimes against children.
Planned Parenthood recently organized protests at HHS regional offices and congressional district offices across the country in response to the proposed rule changes.
Statements from Lila Rose and members of Congress present at the news conference:
Live Action President and Founder Lila Rose: “When a child is the victim of sexual abuse by a family member or the victim of a pimp who has forced her into a life of sex-slavery, she deserves to be protected, not to be victimized again by an abortion facility that willingly turns a blind eye to her torture. We are grateful that so many members of Congress are pushing to initiate an investigation into Planned Parenthood and help put an end to this horrific cycle of abuse.
“The fact that Planned Parenthood has for decades participated in the ongoing abuse of children proves that its priority is selling abortions, not caring for the most vulnerable of girls. Planned Parenthood’s culture of cover-up must end, the cycle of abuse of innocent children must end, and Planned Parenthood’s half a billion dollars in annual federal funding must end. Taxpayers cannot be forced to subsidize these abuses of children.”
House Values Action Team Chairwoman Vicky Hartzler: “It is unthinkable that Planned Parenthood would perform an abortion on a young girl with no questions asked. The thought makes me shudder. It is alarming that an organization with a signature pattern of failure to report child sexual abuse continues to receive taxpayer money. We need to investigate how widespread Planned Parenthood’s complicity truly is; this abuse needs to stop.”
House Pro-life Caucus Chairman Chris Smith: “Planned Parenthood has systematically failed young women and girls by not reporting abuse to appropriate state agencies. I join my colleagues today in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to robustly and vigorously investigate this failure to report. Planned Parenthood’s enabling of abuse has gone on for far too long.”
Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker: “Unfortunately, Live Action’s latest report on the nation’s largest provider of abortion, Planned Parenthood, is anything but surprising. Congress wants answers as to how it is possible that the largest Title X funding recipient was able to avoid complying with state laws and get away with it.”
Congressman Diane Black (Ms. Black prefers the title “Congressman”): “Live Action’s report sheds light on horrific stories of abuse, rape, and sex trafficking, willfully ignored by Planned Parenthood. Their failure to report these heinous crimes does not empower women or children – it empowers their abusers. This despicable cycle must end now.”
Congressman Steve King: “We are borrowing money from China to give to Planned Parenthood. This is immoral. Planned Parenthood is covering up abuse and violating reporting laws. No taxpayer money should go to an organization that provides or counsels for abortions.”