Congress now has twice the money to push ahead with investigations into allegations Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts for profit.
House Republicans voted to increase the budget for the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives from $790,000 to a total of over $1.5 million for this year.
Chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., the 14-member panel came into being last October, months after the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials detailing their practices.
“The practices described in these videos are despicable, and Planned Parenthood should be forced to defend their content,” House Republicans stated on their website.
Democrats on the panel expressed disappointment in the new budget increase. Panel member Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said in a statement it would “roll back women’s healthcare.”
Both Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, a tissue procurement company, have resisted the panel’s investigations. In September, failure to supply the documents subpoenaed by the panel landed StemExpress in contempt of Congress.
Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing.
A final report by the panel is due to Congress by the end of the year.
The panel has been highly effective in its work, said David Daleiden, founder of CMP. “The findings that the panel has put together so far that are available on their website … are just absolutely incredible. They’ve not only confirmed everything that myself and CMP were alleging in the release of our videos a year and a half ago, but they’ve even gone beyond that and found that the wrongdoing in Planned Parenthood’s participation in the harvesting and sale of baby body parts was even more widespread and even worse than anybody was imagining over a year ago.”
Daleiden and others speculate the investigation could continue into next year after the final report is due, and said that “every last tiny bit spent on their investigation is going to be well worth it.”
— by Samantha Gobba