By Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call (TNS)
WASHINGTON — House Democrats appointed to serve on select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood called Tuesday for an end to the panel, arguing that Republican rhetoric incited anger toward the group that led to the Nov. 27 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.
Republicans formed the select committee, which falls under the jurisdiction of Energy and Commerce, to investigate whether Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue. Democrats argue the investigation is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars because three standing congressional committees have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The six Democrats on the select committee — Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Diana DeGette of Colorado, Suzan K. DelBene of Washington, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Jackie Speier of California and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey — sent a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., asking him to disband the panel in the wake of the shooting that killed three people and injured nine others in Colorado Springs.
“Enough is enough,” they wrote. “No woman in this country should ever have to worry that a visit to her doctor will end in violence, and no health care provider should ever be targeted for ensuring access to health care services.”
The Democratic members expanded on the letter during a news conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., Tuesday afternoon.
“The incendiary language and rhetoric being used associated with this committee is disgusting,” Speier said. “It is time for us to take down this committee and take down the vitriolic comments being made by so many against what is a legally provided service.”
DeGette said the full motives of the Colorado Springs shooter remain unclear but noted that when police asked him why he did it, he talked about “baby body parts,” a phrase Republicans have frequently used in reference to the allegations that Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue.
“Since July, the phrase ‘baby parts’ or similar phrases have been used by the eight (Republican) members of this committee — just those eight members — 33 times,” DeGette said. “Isn’t it interesting that this lone shooter used that same phrase?”
Pelosi said the moment of silence the House held during its early afternoon votes to honor the victims of the shooting did not mention the venue of the tragedy.
“Certainly its appropriate to mourn those who lost their lives … but why couldn’t they utter the words ‘Planned Parenthood’?”
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Photo: House Minority Leader Pelosi holds a news conference on the upcoming budget reforms and legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington