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Lawmakers Demand Account Of Planned Parenthood Funds
WASHINGTON D.C., February 26 (CNA) .- Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have requested a report from the government on the use federal funds given to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.
"Planned Parenthood showed in its most recent annual report that they are providing fewer health services, while abortions and federal funding are going up," said Rep. Diane Black (R- Tenn.).
"Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood and others like them continue to receive millions of taxpayer dollars each month despite the repeated red flags raised by their own annual reports and accounting gimmicks."
In a Feb. 21 letter to the Government Accountability Office, Congresswoman Black, Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Senator David Vitter (R-La.) - along with more than 50 members of Congress - asked the office for a report on the use of taxpayer money by federally-funded health clinics, including Planned Parenthood.
This analysis Rep. Black said, "will give lawmakers and the public the most up to date and accurate information on the use of federal funding for abortion providers and the alternative options available for critical health care services."
"My hope is that through greater transparency and accountability we can successfully mobilize the support needed to defund abortion providers - once and for all."
In addition to funding information, the congressmen pressed the office for information on the kinds of services provided and the number of individuals served by these clinics. They also asked for documentation of the kinds of services and funding provided to Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are prohibited from providing abortions, and typically offer a wider range of services and are more numerous than Planned Parenthood clinics.
In January, Rep. Black introduced the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act," which would ensure that family planning grants are not awarded to organizations or clinics that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. This investigation would provide additional information on what sorts of procedures clinics that provide abortion use, as well as if they prevent federal funds from covering abortion, as the law requires.
Sen. Vitter explained the request for an investigation, noting how Planned Parenthood "and other organizations who provide abortions are dependent on Uncle Sam, but there is no accounting with what they are actually using the money for."
In 2012, he said, Planned Parenthood "performed a record 333,964 abortions last year, almost 1 million in the past three years." Last year, "federal taxpayers gave Planned Parenthood a record $542 million, which is an 11 percent increase over the past two years."
Congressman Olson added that federal tax dollars are "legally prohibited from being used for abortions."
"Under our constitution, the Obama Administration has a duty to enforce these laws," he said. "And under that same constitution, Congress has a duty to ensure that the executive branch follows the law of the land."
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