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GOP can't help itself on Planned Parenthood

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.)
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.)NashvilleCorps/Flickr

In the 112th Congress, Republicans repeatedly targeted Planned Parenthood funding -- to the point of being preoccupied with the subject -- though their efforts never came close to succeeding. On the contrary, Democrats used the campaign against the GOP to great effect, painting Republicans as extremists, and expanding the gender gap.

And so, in the 113th Congress, with President Obama re-elected, the Senate Democratic majority larger, and the House Republican majority smaller, surely conservatives won't renew this crusade, right? Wrong.

In early January, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) vowed to "continue trying to starve Planned Parenthood of federal funds," and this week, we're seeing the manifestation of those efforts.

Dozens of Republicans in the House and Senate have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine how Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortion services are using taxpayer money.

Those spearheading the effort -- Rep. Diane Black (Tenn.), Rep. Pete Olson (Texas) and Sen. David Vitter (La.) -- are hoping the study confirms their suspicion that these groups are focusing more on abortion and less on other healthcare services. Black said this finding could be used to justify a reduction in federal funds to abortion providers.

Keep in mind, federal law already prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to terminate pregnancies, and there's literally no evidence that Planned Parenthood has violated this law. Black and the several dozen GOP lawmakers requesting this investigation aren't pointing to anything in particular, but they want a probe in the hopes something untoward might turn up.

The list of lessons Republicans learned as a result of their 2012 failures is remarkably short.