A coalition of 56 members of Congress is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate a pro-life group’s report that details Planned Parenthood’s alleged “decades-long history” of failing to report child abuse on behalf of young girls who schedule abortions at its clinics.
Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Mark Walker (R-NC), Diane Black (R-TN), and Steve King (R-IA) joined pro-life organization Live Action at a news conference Thursday to discuss the allegations that Planned Parenthood has deliberately failed to abide by laws requiring it to report child sexual abuse.
The report and video series are released in the wake of the Trump administration’s proposed new rule that requires abortion facilities, such as Planned Parenthood, that receive Title X family planning grants, to abide by all state and local laws that mandate the reporting of child abuse. The new rule mandates documentation of such reports of child abuse as well.
The letter from the members of 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 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 procedure followed to bring recipients into compliance with reporting laws, and documentation of any disciplinary actions.
Since 1999, federal regulations have required organizations that receive federal Title X “family planning” grants to follow state laws mandating the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse and rape. Planned Parenthood – the largest recipient of Title X funding – receives about $60 million annually through the program. In 2015, 474 of nearly 650 Planned Parenthood facilities received Title X funding, reports Live Action.
“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,” said Live Action president Lila Rose in a press statement. “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 said it is “unthinkable that Planned Parenthood would perform an abortion on a young girl with no questions asked.”
“It is alarming that an organization with a signature pattern of failure to report child sexual abuse continues to receive taxpayer money,” she added. “We need to investigate how widespread Planned Parenthood’s complicity truly is; this abuse needs to stop.”
Similarly, Rep. Steve King said, “We are borrowing money from China to give to Planned Parenthood.”
“This is immoral,” he added. “Planned Parenthood is covering up abuse and violating reporting laws. No taxpayer money should go to an organization that provides or counsels for abortions.”