WASHINGTON (BP) – A congressional watchdog agency has agreed to investigate how Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights organizations spend federal funds, drawing praise from pro-life advocates inside and outside the legislative branch.
“The abortion industry is big business of the most sordid sort. They certainly don’t need a taxpayer bailout,” said Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Members of Congress announced Aug. 5 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had accepted their request for such an investigation. A GAO spokesman confirmed with Baptist Press Aug. 6 the nonpartisan agency had agreed to conduct the review.
Disclosure of the investigation comes at a time when Planned Parenthood’s use of government funds is drawing closer scrutiny. Only a week before, one of the affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $4.3 million for alleged Medicaid fraud. Other Medicaid fraud suits are pending against Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading abortion provider.
Upon learning of the GAO’s decision to investigate, Moore commended government officials “for asking how public funds are spent by the abortion lobby.”
“For years, the abortion-rights movement has told us they are about ‘choice’ and ‘getting the government out of their lives,’” said Moore. “And yet, taxpayers have no choice in their hard-earned dollars subsidizing industries many of us consider to be horrific violators of human rights.
“A thorough investigation would be a good first step to examining our national conscience about what we’re paying for, and why,” he said in a written statement for Baptist Press.
The GAO’s agreement came in response to a February request for such a study by Rep. Diane Black, R.-Tenn., and more than 70 other congressional members. They asked for an update on a 2010 report regarding the federal agencies and programs that were the sources of the government funds, how the money was distributed and what services were provided by the abortion organizations.
The congressional members requested that information not only on PPFA but also on the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the Guttmacher Institute, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and Advocates for Youth.
A January report by PPFA showed it established records for both the most abortions performed and most government funds received in the latest year for which statistics are available. PPFA said its affiliates performed 333,964 of the lethal procedures during 2010-11. It received $542.4 million in federal, state and local government grants and reimbursements during the latest fiscal year.