Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are seeking to bar Planned Parenthood from obtaining federal funds, largely on the pretext of videos purporting to show officials of the health organization attempting to sell fetal tissue. In prepared remarks, Richards said, "The latest smear campaign is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law -- and once again our opponents failed."
Richards said the videos were "deceptively edited videos released by a group that is dedicated to making abortion illegal," adding Planned Parenthood only sells a small amount of fetal tissue, and recovers only reasonable expenses within the law. She noted the majority of the group's federal funding comes through Medicare reimbursements and other payments for birth control and cancer screening services, and that no federal funding is directed to abortion services.
The Republican push to block funding comes as a stopgap spending bill, to keep the government operating past Thursday, is under consideration. Republicans have threatened to shut down the government over attempts to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood in the spending bill.
Republicans perceive the group as promoting Democratic politics, and while Richards said Planned Parenthood's political action lobbyist arm is separate from its core work, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, noted Richards drew a $31,000 salary from the lobbyist fund, atop her $500,000 salary.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested Planned Parenthood's government funding of $400 million per year could be better spent on other health issues, suggesting "Take the money from the guys doing the bad things, and give it to the ones who aren't."
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., defended Richards and condemned the "relentless campaign" against Planned Parenthood by her Republican colleagues, saying "Make no mistake. Despite what we hear, Republicans are doubling down on their war against women." She later added, "We need to recognize this fight for what it is -- it's about banning a woman's right to choose."