Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney Opening Statement at Oversight Hearing on Planned Parenthood

Sep 29, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today delivered the following opening statement before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and welcome Ms. Richards.

Last week, the Democratic Members of this Committee sent a letter warning our Chairman that the relentless campaign by the conservative House Freedom Caucus to attack Planned Parenthood was in fact “part of a broader power struggle to unseat Speaker John Boehner, led by an extreme wing of the Republican Party that is using this issue to force a government shutdown unless the Speaker bows to their demands.” 

Our warnings proved prescient. On Friday Speaker Boehner announced that he will resign at the end of next month, but not before creating a new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood.

Make no mistake, despite what we hear from the other side, Republicans are doubling down on their war against women.

I request unanimous consent to place on the record this letter from the Republicans threatening to close down the government unless Planned Parenthood is defunded

And when you read this, there are certain things that jump out, all of the signatories are men, none of whom will get pregnant, or need cervical screening for cancer, or mammograms, or a pap smear, or other lifesaving services that are provided by Planned Parenthood.

We will hear lots of arguments to justify the extreme actions of the Center for Medical Progress, those who created these video tapes, but there is one simple reason we are at this point: Republicans want to outlaw a woman’s right to choose.

Republicans say that this is all about videos purporting to show violations of our laws, but when the facts come out that contradict their narrative, and it comes to light, it never seems to matter.

For example, when we learned that the videos had dozens of unexplained edits removing phrases like we do not profit from tissue donation, from those who work for Planned Parenthood, that didn’t matter.

When we learned that less than one percent of Planned Parenthood centers had any involvement, whatsoever, in fetal tissue donation, that did not matter. 

When we learned that some Planned Parenthood centers involved in tissue donation took the extra precaution of accepting no reimbursement for their costs, far beyond what is even required by federal law, it did not matter.

When we learned that Planned Parenthood centers that lawfully accepted reimbursement recouped only their costs and repeatedly refused offers from anti-abortion extremists to entrap them into accepting far larger amounts (even, in one case, ten times more), Republicans still insisted they were trying to profit from these donations. 

The righteous rhetoric we’ve heard for weeks about Planned Parenthood trafficking in baby parts has one fundamental flaw: it is not true and it never has been true.  But it makes for a great sound bite.

The reason the facts don’t matter is that this whole episode is not about tissue donation or the Hyde Amendment or Medicaid reimbursement. 

The core issue is that Republican Members of Congress now almost universally oppose a woman’s right to choose, they oppose the constitutional right of abortion.  An increasing number, like Senator Marco Rubio, support banning abortion with no exceptions, none whatsoever, not even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened. 

The majority of Americans disagree with these extreme views. And we will do everything we can to stop them.

Because if we don’t, there will be serious consequences for women across this country that rely on these lifesaving services, it is their choice, of over 2.7 million women, to have their basic health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.

In 103 counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood serves all of the women obtaining publicly supported contraceptive services. There aren’t any community health centers that can step in to fill the void. If we don’t continue this life saving service women will be denied healthcare across this great nation.

This continued assault on constitutionally protected reproductive freedoms is based on outright falsehoods and lies backed up only by fraudulent recordings selectively edited by radical anti-choice activists.

And if they have their way, over 630,000 patients will lose access to birth control, STD screenings and other reproductive healthcare, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings.

We need to recognize this fight for what it is. It’s about banning a woman’s right to choose, and it is being driven by politicians, most of whom are men, who think they have the right to dictate to women about their most private health care decisions.

And I might add that Planned Parenthood polls four times stronger than congress.

And I might add that we should be investigating this group that did fraudulent edited tapes and not a distinguished healthcare organization providing, lifesaving care across this nation, saving lives and providing basic reproductive healthcare to American women, many of whom are very poor, many of whom are very vulnerable.

So I want to publicly thank Planned Parenthood. One in five women in America has gone to Planned Parenthood for services, including myself, at times in their life when they needed it.

And I want to thank you for the work that you’re doing, to provide basic healthcare, reproductive healthcare Services to American Women and Men.