In new resolution, 26 Senators call for termination of Select Investigative Panel; demand House Republicans to stop playing politics with women’s health
Numerous independent investigations have exonerated Planned Parenthood
Murray: “It’s well past time for Republicans to end their partisan, unfounded attacks on Planned Parenthood, disband the so-called “Select Panel on Infant Lives” and focus instead on an actual threat: the Zika virus”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and 25 Senators introduced a resolution calling for the termination of the Select Investigative Panel of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, established on October 7, 2015, and redirecting the Committee’s unspent funding towards fighting the Zika virus. With the threat of Zika, fetal tissue plays an important role in understanding the virus’ impact on children and advancing vaccine development. After thirteen states have concluded independent investigations into false claims against Planned Parenthood and exonerated the organization—including an additional eight states declining to investigate citing lack of wrongdoing—Senators say it’s abundantly clear that committee is a partisan effort to undermine Planned Parenthood and interfere with women’s healthcare.
“It’s well past time for Republicans to end their partisan, unfounded attacks on Planned Parenthood, disband the so-called “Select Panel on Infant Lives” and focus instead on an actual threat: the Zika virus,” said Senator Murray. “Rather than wasting taxpayer dollars trying to score political points with their extreme base, House Republicans should be trying to find ways to address the real health challenges women and families face. That’s what Senate Democrats are focused on, and I hope House Republicans will reconsider their approach and join us.”
As the Select Investigative Panel continues using taxpayer dollars to investigate false claims against Planned Parenthood, Senators echo concerns from advocates and experts about the potentially harmful impact subpoenas could have on critical, ongoing research at universities and labs on the Zika virus, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. In the resolution, the Senators denounce all threats to women’s constitutionally protected reproductive health care rights and reaffirm support for Planned Parenthood as a critical source for health care for women and communities, and warn that efforts to defund and undermine the organization would take access to cancer screenings, birth control, STD tests, and other important preventative care away from millions of Americans across the country.
Senator Murray introduced the resolution today with: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The text of the resolution follows:
Title: Supporting the termination of the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives established pursuant to House Resolution 461, and for other purposes.
Whereas Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and is the nation’s largest provider of sex education;
Whereas Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, information, and outreach to nearly 5,000,000 women, men, and adolescents worldwide in a single year;
Whereas officials in 13 States have concluded investigations into Planned Parenthood affiliates having found no wrongdoing on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and officials in additional eight States have declined to open investigations citing a lack of any evidence against Planned Parenthood to suggest wrongdoing;
Whereas the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives has found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood;
Whereas the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives has recently authorized an additional $490,000 in unnecessary spending, bringing the panel’s total expenditures to $790,000 thus far;
Whereas the Zika virus is a looming public health emergency across the United States that has been linked to severe birth defects, including microcephaly, in children of women infected during pregnancy;
Whereas the Zika virus is spreading rapidly across the Americas, with the Puerto Rican Department of Health reporting a one-week jump of 40 percent in the number of pregnant women on the island who were diagnosed with Zika;
Whereas family planning services and sex education are the primary tools currently available to directly prevent the devastating outcomes of the Zika virus;
Whereas the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives has turned their focus to investigating scientific researchers engaged in public health research, such as the Zika virus, using fetal tissue; and
Whereas scientific researchers have reported the diminishing availability of fetal tissue for their critical research to try to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases impacting Americans: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) supports the immediate termination of the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives established pursuant to House Resolution 461, agreed to October 7, 2015; and
(2) supports rescinding any unspent funds and making those funds available to the Department of Health and Human Services for efforts to combat Zika for women and children.