(Washington, DC) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), joined ten Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Republican Representative Cliff Stearns, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, urging him and his colleagues to abandon their investigation of Planned Parenthood (PPFA) and their affiliates and focus instead on job creation and economic growth. The letter, led by Senators Patty Murray, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), expresses the Senators’ strong disapproval of the “frivolous and fiscally irresponsible” investigation, and underscores their support for women’s health and the critical services that PPFA provides to women and families across the country.
“At a time in our country when women rely on Planned Parenthood more than ever for essential health care, this invasive and baseless investigation is all the more reprehensible, and is an abuse of your oversight responsibilities,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “We urge you to immediately cease this investigation… [It] amounts to no more than a witch hunt, and is a waste of resources at a time when the American people have asked that Congress come together and focus on job creation and economic growth.”
Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jon Tester (D-MT) are cosignatories of the letter.
The full text of the letter is below:
October 11, 2011
The Honorable Cliff Stearns
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
House Energy and Commerce Committee
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20515
Dear Chairman Stearns:
As Senators united in support of our nation’s women, we write to express our strong disapproval of your Subcommittee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood and their affiliates. At a time in our country when women rely on Planned Parenthood more than ever for essential health care, this invasive and baseless investigation is all the more reprehensible, and is an abuse of your oversight responsibilities. We urge you to immediately cease this investigation.
This investigation is frivolous and fiscally irresponsible, and entirely ideologically driven. It is well documented that unplanned pregnancies cost taxpayers over $11 billion dollars each year; Planned Parenthood health centers help women prevent an estimated 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions every year. This investigation detracts from the critical work that Planned Parenthood provides women— including routine gynecological exams, STD testing and treatment, and lifesaving cancer screenings—many of whom consider Planned Parenthood to be their main source of care.
As you are aware, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General, and state Medicaid programs around the country already audit Planned Parenthood on a regular, and public, basis. This investigation amounts to no more than a witch hunt, and is a waste of resources at a time when the American people have asked that Congress come together and focus on job creation and economic growth.
We respectfully request that you stand down from this intrusive investigation, and refocus your Subcommittee’s efforts.