Why Congress is right to investigate Planned Parenthood

2011 has been a bad year for Planned Parenthood.  What was once a fairly reputable organization has now come under close scrutiny. The organization once shared a lasting and amicable partnership with the United States’ government, but it is now threatened to be cut off.  In the most recent turn of events, the legislative body which has been granting Planned Parenthood federal money for years has now ordered an investigation into the organization.  The tides are beginning to turn, but Planned Parenthood is not going to go down easily.

Planned Parenthood and their many friends, whether they are in the media or politics, have expressed their concern and outrage over the investigation calling it an abuse of governmental power used to push an agenda.  What is amazing, however, is how quickly these people seem to have forgotten what Planned Parenthood has done to prompt this action by Congress.  The investigation is not focused on the issue of abortion, but on whether Planned Parenthood is being responsible with the money given to them and if they are observing the stipulations under which they received the money.  Some may question the intent of the Republican lawmakers but, whether there is intent or not, Congress is perfectly justified in its investigations.

Far from pursuing a political agenda, the Republican lawmakers are confronting problems that have become systematic within the organization of Planned Parenthood.  In doing so, they made three simple requests of the organization.  One of the three requests was merely asking Planned Parenthood to provide documentation on how they adhere to laws concerning federal funding and abortion.  Congress has every right to examine those they fund to determine that the rules for funding are being followed and this request is exactly that.  The other two requests are very specific towards Planned Parenthood’s actions, however.  The first of these two requests was that Planned Parenthood provide documentation concerning past audits, their failures in said audits, and their response to those failures. This request is not being made as a standard procedure, but was inspired by Planned Parenthood’s multiple misdeeds with their funding.

It is not uncommon for an organization to perhaps miss a few details here and there, but Planned Parenthood has had more than just a couple of financial missteps.  Planned Parenthood has been audited for multiple instances of overcharging the government by the millions.  In many cases they overcharged the government for what they defined as family planning services when, in fact, the services were not family planning.  Instances of this led to the government being overcharged by over 17 million in New York and nearly 3 million in New Jersey.  Planned Parenthood has also overcharged the government for the price of contraceptives.  Instances of this amounted to the government being overcharged by over 600, 000 dollars in Washington and 5 million in California.  Currently, however, a former Planned Parenthood employee now claims that Planned Parenthood was overcharging the government for reimbursements by 180 million in California, although this case is still in progress.  Also in the recent news, the New York Times reported in 2010 that Planned Parenthood Golden Gate in California was facing an audit by the criminal division of the I.R.S. after an unnamed employee reported financial misdeeds by the organization.  This has happened to many times for it to go overlooked.  Planned Parenthood has scammed or attempted to scam millions out of the American taxpayers and Congress has a duty to investigate this.

Not only does Planned Parenthood have a history of mismanaging the government’s money, but they also have had issues following numerous laws.  Congress’ third request to examine Planned Parenthood’s policies and procedures regarding the identification and reporting of criminal acts should not come as any surprise to Planned Parenthood.  Even if their official policy is to report criminal behavior, there have been numerous instances of them not doing so.  Due to the pro-life organization Live Action’s work, multiple instances of disregard of the law were found.

Starting in 2008, Live Action began its investigations into the more than questionable practices of Planned Parenthood. This investigation, which used undercover videos of actors posing as young girls, revealed that Planned Parenthood was systematically covering up sexual abuse.  It was not one isolated incident, nor two, but 10 cases in 6 different states of Planned Parenthood explicitly covering up the sexual abuse of girls.  The videos clearly show Planned Parenthood workers choosing not to report statutory rape but, instead, proceeding with business as usual.

Three years later, sadly, not much had changed.  In January 2011, Live Action executed and released a second investigation into Planned Parenthood’s blatant disregard for the sexually abused.  In this investigation, which again used undercover videos, actors posed as pimps and prostitutes seeking abortions, contraceptives or testing for whom, they made quite clear, were underage prostitutes.  In this investigation, Planned Parenthood was caught once again not only covering up the sexual abuse of minors, but aiding the “pimps” in their abuse by giving them illegal advice.  Again, this was not an isolated incident, but 6 clinics in 4 states where these abuses took place.

Live Action’s work was not alone, however, in uncovering Planned Parenthood’s blatant disregard of the law. In 2005, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate admitted to covering up the statutory rape of an 11-year-old girl in 1999 by her 17-year-old boyfriend.  In 2002, a northern Californian Planned Parenthood referred a 13-year-old girl for an abortion, but failed to report that she was impregnated by her father.  Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio was involved in two lawsuits for covering up sexual abuse.  In the first case Planned Parenthood once again failed to report the statutory rape of a young girl by her father and in the second case they failed to notify the parents of a 13-year-old girl whose abortion was paid for by her 22-year-old soccer coach.  In 2008, West Hartford Planned Parenthood in Connecticut administered an abortion to a 14-year-old girl who was brought into the clinic by her abductor who had impregnated her while she was kidnapped, but Planned Parenthood failed to report her condition.  The instances of disregard for the law are too large in number to overlook.  If anything, this investigation is coming much later than it should have.

Just because certain members of Congress and the media either ignore the evidence or are ignorant of it does not mean it does not exist. Evidence of both the financial over-billings, as well as the sexual abuse cover up are certifiable and open to the public, and the fact that we have a Congress that will act upon this is not a case of political abuse, but political responsibility.  With such glaring proof that money is being mismanaged and laws are being disregarded, the government has more than the right and responsibility to investigate the organizations funded by our taxpayer money.  And if Planned Parenthood were truly innocent, one would think this investigation would not be an issue for them.  But for some reason it is an issue as they have attacked those behind the investigation sharply. Perhaps someone has a guilty conscience.

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