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COLUMN: In Keeping Our Nation’s Values, Hold Planned Parenthood Accountable

September 21, 2015
Weekly Column and Op-Ed
By Rep. Dan Newhouse

On September 17, freedom lovers across our nation observed Constitution Day, which we recognize as the day 288 years ago that the Founders signed the document that has guided us and protected individual liberties over the course of American history. In 1788, the Constitution with the Bill of Rights was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention to protect Americans’ individual rights from overreaching government, embodying the value that “We the People” truly govern. As Americans, we are instinctively keen to defend individual rights. In a society governed by the people and for the people, the choices we make as a society should uphold the rights of all people.

The same week our nation celebrated the protection of individual liberty afforded by our Constitution, the House of Representatives passed legislation to strengthen protection of the most fundamental right of every human being: the right to live.

Protecting the dignity of every human life upholds our society’s highest values and recognizes our duty to defend those who cannot defend themselves. By now, most Americans have heard of or seen the undercover Planned Parenthood videos. The videos are painful to watch, as they uncover Planned Parenthood’s callous conduct and potentially illegal practices that take the lives of unborn children and potentially profit from the sale of fetal limbs and organs. The House of Representatives has responded by launching investigations by the Judiciary, Oversight, and Energy & Commerce committees to get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood’s heinous actions.

In its last fiscal year, Planned Parenthood received more than $500 million in government funding. American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the nation’s largest provider of abortions.  Many cite the need for Planned Parenthood for women’s health care, however, there are many alternative community health clinics that support women’s health without providing abortions. In the 4th Congressional District alone, there are 50 federally-funded community health clinics that offer comprehensive healthcare for women and do not provide abortions.

That is why last week, the House of Representatives passed two important pieces of legislation that I co-sponsored to protect the unborn: the Defund Planned Parenthood Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

The Defund Planned Parenthood Act places a moratorium on funding for Planned Parenthood unless it is certified that Planned Parenthood affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires the provision of medical care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

I have also requested that the U.S. Department of Justice conduct an immediate investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood regarding the sale of fetal body parts as well as possible criminal violations, and the involvement of taxpayer subsidies.

As Americans who hold life to be precious and celebrate individual liberty, we cannot turn our backs on the unborn. Congress must continue to hold Planned Parenthood accountable.