Rep. Richard Hanna was the only Republican candidate in 2014 to accept funds from Planned Parenthood.
The third-term congressman from New York’s 22nd District—which runs from the Pennsylvania border to Lake Ontario—received $2,823 from Planned Parenthood during his last election.
The Daily Signal recently published a list of candidates who took funds from the embattled organization, which is facing federal and state investigations for its role in the alleged sale of aborted fetal body parts.
Hanna has voted against legislation that would have cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“For me it’s a very personal thing,” Hanna said in a 2012 interview with Syracuse’s Post-Standard. “I think you’ve watched a number of things come up recently, like the proposal to defund Planned Parenthood. And I’ve gotten to feel that I owed it to my friends in the Republican Party to stand out a little bit and say, ‘Everybody doesn’t feel the way you feel.’”
Hanna has been praised by Planned Parenthood on several occasions. He even accepted an award from the organization in 2012.
According to Planned Parenthood, the organization presents its “prestigious” Barry Goldwater Award “to an outstanding elected official who has acted as a leader within the Republican Party to protect women’s reproductive rights across the United States.”
On Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s website, Hanna is listed as the 2012 recipient of the award.
In a statement following Hanna’s GOP primary victory in 2014, Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said:
Richard Hanna’s victory shows that Republican voters will elect leaders who support women’s health. Allowing women to make their own personal health care decisions is at the heart of independence and freedom. That’s what Richard Hanna has made clear throughout his time in Congress and throughout his primary campaign against his extreme and out-of-touch opponent, Claudia Tenney.
He’s not alone. The majority of Americans—across party lines—agree that decisions about reproductive health care should be left between a woman and her doctor—without government intrusion.
The Daily Signal reached out to Hanna’s office to ask if he would join his Republican colleagues in calling for an investigation into Planned Parenthood in light of recently released undercover video showing senior executives at the organization discussing the sale of fetal organs. The Daily Signal also asked if Hanna would return the funds he received from Planned Parenthood pending the results of that investigation.
A spokeswoman for Hanna did not return our multiple requests for comment.
One of Hanna’s constituents forwarded an email he received from Hanna’s office in response to his concerns about Planned Parenthood:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding Planned Parenthood. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you know, recent videos have revealed the disturbing way that some Planned Parenthood officials discuss the details of their operations. The callous and ugly tone and detached emotional nature of the video has renewed discussion of the federal funding of this organization.
I personally oppose abortion, and I have consistently supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. It is clear that the vast majority of American taxpayers do not want their money spent on abortions, and I agree. Additionally, it is vitally important that we ensure that all medical practices and procedures within the United States comport with the laws and morals that we, as a nation, stand for.
Should the House consider legislation related to Planned Parenthood, I will keep your comments and concerns in mind. While I am sure you may not agree with every vote I cast representing you, you will always know my rationale for the decisions I make on the House floor. I am committed to open government and transparency, which is why I post updates from Washington and explanations for final passage votes on each House bill on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reprichardhanna.
Earlier this year, Hanna was the only Republican to vote against the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.
“I have been a consistent supporter of women’s rights and health care organizations in upstate New York that aid women, especially those most vulnerable in our community. While I personally oppose abortion, individuals should be free to make that very difficult and personal decision without heavy-handed government involvement,” Hanna said in a Jan. 22 statement.
“This legislation goes beyond the Hyde Amendment to create new financial penalties, red tape and paperwork requirements,” he said. “These are government barriers for small businesses and individuals who would choose to provide their employees or themselves with health plans that include abortion coverage.”
“I continue to oppose spending federal tax dollars on abortion, but this legislation goes too far in finding new ways to insert government influence into personal and employer health care decisions best left to families and consumers,” Hanna added.
The House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in January in a 272-179 vote.