Washington D.C. (CNA) - Several members of Congress have asked the federal government to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood has covered-up acts of sexual abuse.
At a press conference held Thursday outside the Capitol Building, the members of Congress, along with pro-life group Live Action, asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate Planned Parenthood and other Title X fund recipients to determine if there is a widespread practice of covering up sexual abuse.
Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X family planning funds, and is required by law to report any suspected abuse.
Last week, Live Action released the first videos of its ongoing docuseries “Aiding Abusers: Planned Parenthood’s Cover-Up of Child Sexual Abuse,” as well as a report containing decades worth of examples of Planned Parenthood acting negligently in failing to report sexual abuse. Many of the stories detailed in the report were re-told on Thursday by members of Congress.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was blunt in his criticism of Planned Parenthood, saying that he thinks the organization has shown “gross negligence” in not only failing to report abuse, but in many cases returning the abuse victim to their abuser. Smith, who authored a bill in 2000 to protect victims of human trafficking, said that he finds the purported complicity with abuse to be “appalling.”
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States, and performs about 900 abortions each day. It receives over half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding, about 10 percent of which are Title X funds.
The Trump Administration announced a new rule in late May that would prohibit Title X funds from going to organizations that perform abortion. In order for Planned Parenthood to remain eligible for Title X funds, it would need to discontinue offering abortions, or create a stand-alone, financially segregated organization exclusively providing abortion.
“This is something we have been working on and I applaud the administration for taking that step,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-TN).
“The integrity of our tax dollars should never be in question, especially those intended for actual family planning and women’s healthcare.”
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, shared stories of her own undercover visits to two Planned Parenthood locations in the Los Angeles area, posing as an abuse victim. In neither case was her abuse reported to law enforcement authorities, and instead, she was encouraged to lie about her age. Rose believes that Planned Parenthood uses abortion as a tool to destroy physical evidence.
“Abortion is something that is then used to enable the abuse of young girls and cover up their abuse,” said Rose.
In one case cited in the report, a young teen girl who said she was being raped by her father received two abortions at Planned Parenthood. She was also given an IUD after the second abortion to prevent additional pregnancies. In neither case was her abuse reported to the authorities, despite being far below the age of consent.
“Planned Parenthood’s failure to report these heinous crimes does not empower women or our children. It empowers their abusers,” said Black.
“These stories are sickening, and we're calling on HHS to investigate Planned Parenthood and every Title X funding recipient to determine how widespread this reporting failure is."