Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is criticizing fellow Florida congressman Cliff Stearns’ recently launched investigation into Planned Parenthood’s finances and policies.
Stearns, R-Ocala, has received criticism for his recent probe into the chain of women’s health clinics from other members of Congress, as well.
Earlier this month, Stearns asked the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, for the organization’s financial and policy records as part of his investigation. Stearns chairs a subcommittee on oversight and investigations in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Stearns mentioned back in July that he was considering an investigation into Planned Parenthood after a report was released arguing that lawmakers should defund Planned Parenthood. The report was written by Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. As The American Independent reported, Americans United called upon Congress to hold an investigation looking into Planned Parenthood’s finances and practices. While Planned Parenthood has called the report false and “ideologically driven,” Stearns ultimately capitulated to the group.
The Sun Sentinel reports that Wasserman Schultz “accused Republican colleagues on Wednesday of launching a ‘burdensome and politically motivated, big-government investigation’ of Planned Parenthood”:
“I am a strong supporter of congressional oversight, however, the scope and nature of this investigation is unprecedented, invasive, and the big-brother equivalent of a modern day denial-of-service attack,” said Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Weston.
“Republicans, having failed to strip funds for Planned Parenthood’s essential health-care services through the legislative process, now appear to want to bury Planned Parenthood under a broad and unwarranted political witch hunt.”
She said Planned Parenthood is already regularly audited by state and federal officials and that the audits have not identified a reason to investigate.
The American Independent reports that Americans United is using criticism of Stearns to solicit donations that would help drive the investigation forward.
Wasserman Schultz has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for some time. She spoke at a women’s health rally hosted by a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Fort Lauderdale last month. She told the audience that women “have suffered the most severe attacks on women’s health since Roe v. Wade” in recent months.
“I have never felt my right as a woman was more threatened than I do today,” she said.