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House Votes to Create Panel to Investigate Planned Parenthood

by Alex Moe and Carrie Dann /
Image: A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York
A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York August 31, 2015. Picture taken August 31, 2015.LUCAS JACKSON / Reuters

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The House has voted to create a special committee to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of GOP outcry about the group's handling of tissue from aborted fetuses.

The vote was 242 to 184, with two Democrats voting in favor and one Republican voting against.

The measure will create a 14-member panel to probe the organization, which is under fire after a series of sting videos by an anti-abortion group showed Planned Parenthood staff appearing to discuss the cost of the tissue.

Republican leadership had vowed to create this special panel during the funding fight last month as they tried to prevent a government shutdown and alleviate concerns from conservatives as a clean Continuing Resolution not taking away federal funds from Planned Parenthood made its way through Congress. While Planned Parenthood does receive nearly $450 million in federal funds each year, by law none of that money can be used for abortions.

There is no timeline yet for naming the chair and members to the panel.

Democrats have likened it to the special committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, saying that both are politically-motivated endeavors intended to push narratives harmful to Democratic presidential candidates.

“Here we are about to waste an enormous amount of time by members of Congress and their staff, an enormous amount of money just for political gain,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood derided the committee as the fifth such congressional panel to investigate claims that have been "totally discredited."

"“It’s become very obvious that this is all part of a political agenda to make abortion illegal in this country. Despite the clear political agenda behind these investigations, we continue to cooperate fully with all of them," said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood.

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