98 Lawmakers Ask Paul Ryan To Disband Panel Going After Planned Parenthood Over Debunked Video

Planned Parenthood and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supporter Melissa Vincett looks to the stage during a Clinton campaign event at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER, AP
Planned Parenthood and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supporter Melissa Vincett looks to the stage during a Clinton campaign event at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER, AP

On Thursday, 98 members of Congress wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TEN), asking that they disband the panel and end the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue research.

The investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices began last summer, when a heavily edited video surfaced claiming that the organization was “selling aborted baby parts.” Conservatives, especially former Presidential candidate and current Ted Cruz “running mate” Carly Fiorina — called for a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices.

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But the claims made in the video have been repeatedly debunked, and in January, after a three-month-long investigation, a Texas Grand Jury decided not to indict Planned Parenthood. Instead, the jury moved to indict the videographers who were responsible for the video in the first place.

How The Nationwide Crusade Against Planned Parenthood Is Failing, In One MapHealth by CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen After a months-long investigation, a Texas grand jury decided not to indict…thinkprogress.orgHowever, the select panel has continued to operate, going after not only Planned Parenthood, but also the scientists who are researching fetal tissue as they search for cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

“Despite continued and repeated affirmation that Planned Parenthood broke no laws and did nothing wrong, the Select Investigative Panel has continued to endanger healthcare providers and patients with its extreme rhetoric claiming that Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts,” the 98 members of congress wrote in the letter.

The letter also expresses concern about the invasive investigations the panel is conducting on scientists who are researching fetal tissue, including a “misuse of subpoena power” to harass researchers, graduate students, laboratory technicians, and administrative personnel involved with the research.

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According to the members of Congress, this is a waste of taxpayer money and is serving “no other purpose than to carry out politically-motivated attacks on Planned Parenthood.”

“It’s increasingly clear this committee is pushing to intimidate scientists and researchers,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said. “This is reckless. These are the very researchers dedicated to finding life-saving medical cures for crippling diseases.”

“This Panel has served as nothing more than a vehicle for false attacks on Planned Parenthood,” said Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL). “It’s time Republican leadership stops wasting taxpayer money on this political witch hunt.”