The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate the use of federal funds by Planned Parenthood.
The probe was announced by Representatives Diane Black (R–TN), Pete Olson (R–TX), Chris Smith (R–NJ), and Senator David Vitter (R–LA).
The announcement comes as Planned Parenthood, which received more than half a billion in tax dollars in one year alone, faces numerous accusations of fraud and claims of unsafe conditions at some of its abortion clinics.
Despite the organization’s prominence—performing roughly one of every four abortions in America—Planned Parenthood has ridden the waves of taxpayer funding to millions of dollars in annual surpluses. Planned Parenthood received over $542 million in taxpayer dollars during 2011 alone, all the while performing a record 333,964 abortions. In that year, like many before it, Planned Parenthood saw a very comfortable income, reporting excess revenues exceeding $87 million and net assets of more than $1.2 billion.
The announcement of the GAO’s investigation comes just a few weeks after Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast agreed to pay over $4 million to settle claims of Medicaid fraud. State audits of family planning programs have indicated similar abuse and fraudulent practices by Planned Parenthood affiliates to the tune of over $8 million across 12 states. The lucrative abortion provider is also currently embroiled in at least four whistleblower lawsuits claiming that Planned Parenthood overbilled Medicaid programs.
While claiming to support the interests of women, Planned Parenthood has also shown an apparent willingness to abet the sex trafficking of minor girls and allegedly turned a blind eye to unsafe and unsanitary conditions in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and elsewhere.
Just last week, former nurses at a Planned Parenthood in Delaware testified before state legislators, claiming the clinic that performed dangerous “after hours” abortions also failed to inform hundreds of women who tested positive for infections.
Even outside the walls of its clinics, Planned Parenthood’s legislative interests increasingly diverge from the views of most Americans. The organization has repeatedly opposed legal protections for infants born after botched abortions and opposes restrictions on late-term abortions, even though a majority of women support such policies.
Seventy-two Members of Congress who made the request for a GAO investigation asked the watchdog to specify the amount, source, and expenditure of federal tax dollars by Planned Parenthood and five other organizations that provide or promote abortion here and abroad.
Earlier this year, Black and Vitter introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would remove federal taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers under Title X family planning grants.
Policymakers looking for organizations capable of self-funding more of their activities would do well to view Planned Parenthood’s subsidies with a critical eye.