Back in September, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) opened a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, demanding that the organization and its 83 affiliates submit fiscal records dating as far back as 13 years to determine if the arm of the organization that provides abortions was sufficiently segregated from the arm that provides family planning and health services. As a result, the Susan G. Komen Foundation cut off funding to Planned Parenthood — which it later restored — because the foundation had a new rule against funding organizations under investigation.
Last month, constituents pushed back against Rep. Stearns, who is currently chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Several constituents argued with Stearns during a town hall about how he used his position as a subcommittee chairman to conduct the sweeping investigation. After Stearns answered several other questions, a woman complained to him about how his investigation into Planned Parenthood led to cuts for breast cancer screenings at some of the organization’s clinics:
WOMAN: I would like you to speak to every woman in this room and every woman who have been denied the opportunity to have mammograms with your ridiculous cut…to women, your insult to women —
STEARNS: What cuts are, what?
WOMAN: With your Planned Parenthood investigation.
Watch a clip of the confrontation here:
Stearns’ responded that it was his responsibility as chairman of oversight subcommittee. While Komen clarified its new rule and has announced it will let Planned Parenthood reapply for grant funding, Stearns said in February that his investigation into the women’s health organization is ongoing.