FIRST IN DAILY SIGNAL—Republican lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the $20 million that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates allegedly took from the Provider Relief Fund in the COVID-19-related CARES Act.
Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Josh Brecheen, both R-Okla., spearheaded the effort in sending a letter Monday to the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Christi Grimm.
That letter, first obtained by The Daily Signal, requests that Grimm review the Provider Relief Fund applications submitted by the organization to ascertain whether the abortion giant provided “false or misleading information” to access the funding. It is signed by more than 30 other members of Congress, including Republican Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
“The [Provider Relief Fund] was established by Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,” the letter notes. “This fund was designed to provide financial assistance to health care providers and health systems that were limited with in-person visits and were forced to cancel elective procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, entities that received these funds needed to certify that they provided testing or care for COVID-19 cases.”
Congress, the lawmakers stressed, purposefully crafted the CARES Act to block federal funding from paying for abortions.
“Planned Parenthood and its affiliates’ efforts are centered around abortion,” the Republicans said, citing the abortion giant’s 2020-2021 report showing that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates performed 383,460 abortions during that year.
“This was an increase from the previous year, a time when Planned Parenthood performed 354,871 abortions,” the lawmakers continued. “Planned Parenthood also provided fewer health services during the pandemic. Breast [cancer] screenings fell by more than 30%, gynecological exams decreased by 39%, and total pregnancy tests decreased by 14%.”
“While most health care providers were financially strained by the pandemic, Planned Parenthood’s financial records show that the organization was not significantly impacted,” they added. “In its 2020-2021 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood boasted $1.7 billion in revenue and possessed more than $2.5 billion in net assets. Even during the height of the pandemic, Planned Parenthood was able to maintain positive cash flow when many small businesses and actual health care providers were forced to close their doors to patients.”
Those financial statements speak for themselves, the lawmakers emphasized, writing: “This organization did not possess a financial need for funds distributed through the PRF, nor should taxpayer dollars be given toward the provision of abortions.”
“If it is discovered that Planned Parenthood intentionally falsified information on its applications, we ask that you submit a criminal or civil referral to the U.S. Department of Justice,” they concluded.
GOP lawmakers have similarly, and repeatedly, demanded investigations into the $80 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans that Planned Parenthood received, alleging that the abortion giant obtained those loans illegally.
In March 2020, Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund issued a statement acknowledging that the CARES Act legislation gave the Small Business Administration the power to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving loans—but Planned Parenthood still confirmed in May 2020 that “some independent Planned Parenthood 501(c)(3) organizations applied for and were awarded loans under the eligibility rules established by the CARES Act and the Small Business Administration (SBA), which they met.”
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.