This post has been updated to include a response from a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, who returned our request for comment after this article was published.
The Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates has asked the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources to provide lawmakers with information about any payments that may have been made to Planned Parenthood.
House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, sent a letter to DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling asking her to provide “detailed information” about any payments made to Planned Parenthood, and for her “assistance in determining what steps can be taken to ensure that Planned Parenthood does not receive future funding from the state.”
According to a press release from Armstead’s office, “there is no specific line item in the state budget for Planned Parenthood,” but “approximately $800,000 may have been provided to the organization or a state affiliate through the DHHR’s Family Planning Program.”
In a statement, Armstead said he sent the letter due to the undercover videos released of Planned Parenthood executives.
The videos, released by the Center for Medical Progress, have raised allegations that Planned Parenthood is trafficking aborted fetal body parts. Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have denied illegal conduct.
“In the aftermath of the recent videos and disclosures about Planned Parenthood, members of the House of Delegates have raised concerns about whether state funds are being provided to this organization,” Armstead said.
“This request to DHHR is an effort to determine whether state funds are, in fact, being provided to Planned Parenthood and, if so, how we can ensure that no state funding is provided to that organization. This is not an effort to eliminate state funding for necessary, non-abortion related healthcare services which assist women across our state. Rather, it is an attempt to make sure that taxpayer funding is instead provided to other healthcare providers that retain the trust and confidence of our citizens.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s website says it operates one clinic in West Virginia.
In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Paige Johnson, the vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said:
It is unfortunate that Speaker Armstead is using the thoroughly and widely discredited video attacks against Planned Parenthood to push a political agenda. From the beginning, these attacks on Planned Parenthood and the care we provide have been about one thing—banning safe and legal abortion and smearing Planned Parenthood’s trusted name. Planned Parenthood in West Virginia does not participate in fetal tissue donation, nor does it provide abortion services, underscoring the purely political motivation behind the Speaker’s letter to DHHR today.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, there are 317 federally qualified women’s health clinics and public health centers in West Virginia.