Over the summer, Planned Parenthood has come under ever-increasing fire as numerous undercover investigative videos revealed insights into their practice of selling fetal parts from aborted babies, possibly for profit. But, until recently, that controversy was largely distant from abortion-friendly Oregon, where close to 1 out of every 2 abortions is paid for by taxpayers and there are zero restrictions on abortions (the only such state in the nation).
But the controversy is now swirling here as well, as the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Tina Kotek (D-Portland), this week cancelled an upcoming hearing into Planned Parenthood’s practices in Oregon. The hearing, originally scheduled for Monday, September 28th, was requested by 19 Republican members of the Oregon House and agreed to by the Chair of the House Health Care Committee, Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland).
But after receiving a call from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, the political arm of the organization that gives tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, Speaker Tina Kotek cancelled the hearing, saying Republicans would have turned it into a “political stunt.”
“I am a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood,” Kotek said. “[I] have seen zero evidence to support the allegations that their opponents have drummed up in recent weeks.”
Greenlick explained the reversal of his decision to hold the hearing saying, “I follow orders.”
House Minority Leader Rep. Mike McLane responded by asking, “What’s the harm of bringing facts to the light?” According to KGW, McLane said he “wants transparency, unlike the Cover Oregon scandal and the Kitzhaber email fiasco.”
It has been the case for all of recent political history that mainly Democrats support the State of Oregon funding Planned Parenthood and that Planned Parenthood in turn funds the political campaigns of many Oregon Democrats. The fact that a powerful Democrat agreed to a hearing into Planned Parenthood’s practices is unheard of. But the fact that at the request of Planned Parenthood this hearing was cancelled shows that abortion is still not a topic that Oregon’s Democratic leadership and Planned Parenthood want to get into.
The House Republicans who requested the hearing wanted to be able to ask Planned Parenthood on record the following types of questions:
1) Do they use “understandable informed consent documentation for the women using their services;”
2) What purposes have fetal body parts have been used for;
3) “What are the “actual costs incurred by Planned Parenthood in its processing of body parts;” and
4) What is the “source and amount of payments made to Planned Parenthood for transmission services.”
President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, Stacy Cross, said in a statement: “We were aware of the Republican request for a hearing, and we agree with the Speaker’s decision not to schedule it. If there are any fact-based questions specific to our services in Oregon, we will respond.”