How Not to Make Planned Parenthood Squirm

By Published on September 30, 2015

At the beginning of a five-hour committee hearing on Tuesday with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards as the sole witness, Chairman Jason Chaffetz made a surprising announcement. The Utah congressman and oversight committee chairman said he wouldn’t focus on the undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting and selling the organs and tissue of aborted babies to biotech companies.

“I’ve allowed great latitude to members, they can ask what they want to ask, but the focus of what we’re doing today is how this organization is funded and how they spend their money,” Chaffetz said. His rationale for focusing on Planned Parenthood’s finances was that all of the undercover videos have not yet been released because a California judge has imposed a temporary restraining order. “The first step is seeing all the videos. All the videos,” Chaffetz said.

So Chaffetz drew attention to Cecile Richards’ exorbitant compensation (nearly $600,000) as president of a billion-dollar nonprofit and pointed out that Planned Parenthood has transferred millions of dollars from its 501(c)3 “charitable” arm to its 501(c)4 lobbying and political operation. Mark Meadows of North Carolina debunked the Planned Parenthood talking point that “only three percent” of its services are abortions (more than one in ten of its clients procures an abortion, and roughly one-third of revenue comes from abortions). The best moment for Republicans probably came when Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming got Richards to admit Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms just moments after a Democratic congresswoman claimed they did:

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