GOP "Witch Hunt" Panel Concludes With Anti-Choice Plan of Attack

Updated 3:35pm EDT:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) confirmed Thursday that defunding Planned Parenthood will be included in the Republicans’ “reconciliation” bill that also repeals the core of the Affordable Care Act.


House Republicans’ anti-choice “witch hunt” against Planned Parenthood came to a close this week—after 15 months and $1.59 million—with an expansive final report that, unsurprisingly, recommends stripping federal funds from the women’s healthcare provider.

The panel, known as the “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” was formed in October 2015 in response to the video smear campaign by anti-abortion activists that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials “selling” fetal tissue obtained through its procedures—regardless of the fact that the video producers were later indicted for fraud.

The 485-page final report (pdf), issued Tuesday, is the final salvo for the panel, which was not reestablished under the 115th Congress.

Citing the work of the deceptive video campaign, as well as subpoenas the group sent to dozens of clinics, procurement firms, and research institutions, the Republicans accuse Planned Parenthood of “violating federal laws by altering abortion procedures to obtain fetal tissue, disclosing patients’ private information to firms that procure the tissue, and ‘a general disinterest in clinical integrity,'” AP reported.

The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), panned the report as “illegitimate,” declaring in a press statement: “History will not look kindly upon this Panel.”

“This Select Investigative Panel leaves behind a legacy of lies, intimidation, and procedural misconduct,” Schakowsky continued. “It will be remembered, like the House Un-American Activities Committee and McCarthy hearings for its excesses and abuses of power.”

Noting that separate investigations found no wrongdoing, Planned Parenthood vice president for public policy and government affairs Dana Singiser similarly said the report was “nothing more than a partisan attack on Planned Parenthood and women’s access to safe and legal abortion.”

Singiser added that the organization “has never profited while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research.”

Nonetheless, the panel recommends cutting federal funding to the reproductive health care provider, something incoming President Donald Trump has also vowed to do.