GOP lawmakers pushing for government investigation of Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups

Conservative lawmakers would like to put your taxpayer dollars to good use by launching a ridiculous witch hunt investigation of pro-choice groups.

A group of 72 lawmakers have revived an effort to ask the government’s watchdog agency to scrutinize taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood and five other organizations who provide family-planning services.

The request for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) probe — which drew a sharp response from Planned Parenthood — focuses on Planned Parenthood Federation of AmericaInternational Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the Guttmacher Institute, Advocates for Youth and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

Pro-life groups have long pushed Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood, noting that although by law federal funds may not be used directly to pay for abortions, Planned Parenthood receives about $1 million a day in federal funding for its other services.

The lawmakers claim that “there is ‘no accounting’ for how these groups use federal money.” Which is weird since, as anyone who’s ever worked at an organization that receives federal funding knows, government grants require quite a lot of accounting. As Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards explains, their clinics, like any other health care providers, “are reimbursed by the government for providing specific preventive health services.” They are routinely audited, and none of these audits have ever revealed a misuse of taxpayer money. 

These anti-choice lawmakers are barely even maintaining a thin pretense that this isn’t a blatantly ideological attack. Rep. Diane Black, who is spear-heading the push, said she hoped the investigation would help “successfully mobilize the support needed to defund abortion providers — once and for all.” Welp, thanks for making that crystal clear.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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