House Creates Panel on Planned Parenthood
Expect issue to stretch into election year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2015 6:44 AM CDT
US Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

(Newser) – John Boehner's resignation may have avoided a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, but the issue now seems likely to remain in play well into the 2016 election year: The House on Wednesday created a special committee to investigate the handling of fetal tissue and other abortion-related issues, reports the Hill. The bill doesn't actually mention Planned Parenthood, but it stems directly from the release of undercover videos involving the group. "Our investigation has raised many more questions than we've been able to find answers," said Marsha Blackburn, the expected panel chair. "We need to have a national conversation." This is the second special committee created by Republicans since their takeover of the House in 2011, the other being tied to Benghazi, notes the Washington Post. Democrats immediately drew a parallel.

"Here we go again—Planned Parenthood is the new Benghazi," said Rep. Lois Frankel. The panel is set up to have seven Republicans and six Democrats, though it's unclear whether any Democrats will participate. Its authority will go beyond just Planned Parenthood, involving all "medical procedures and business practices used by entities involved in fetal tissue procurement" and "any other relevant matters with respect to fetal tissue procurement." The panel also will examine federal funding for abortion providers. "It's become very obvious that this is all part of a political agenda to make abortion illegal in this country," says an executive at Planned Parenthood. (House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's recent comments on the Benghazi panel got him into hot water.)