The House Judiciary Committee began the first in a series of Congressional hearings about Planned Parenthood on Wednesday.
House Republicans began investigating Planned Parenthood after a group called The Center for Medical Progress began releasing surreptitious recordings that they allege show Planned Parenthood officials illegally selling fetal tissue attained from abortions.
NPR's Jennifer Ludden tells our Newscast unit that Republicans say they are examining what they say are Planned Parenthood's "horrific practices."
"Planned Parenthood denies any wrongdoing," Jennifer says. "But some Republicans in Congress want to defund the group. They're threatening a government shutdown unless that happens."
"The hearing in the House Judiciary Committee — titled "Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation's Largest Abortion Provider" — is the first of several hearings expected this fall as three House committees pursue investigations of Planned Parenthood. House Republicans also launched a website Wednesday to track their investigations into the group.
"Beyond the specific techniques under scrutiny, the hearing became an opportunity to air a broader agenda of reducing abortions generally. Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., opened the hearing with a call for Congress to pass legislation to bar all abortions after five months of gestation, which would 'help ensure that the body parts of late-aborted babies cannot be sold because late-term abortions would be generally prohibited.'
"Republican committee members repeatedly raised examples of abortions gone wrong or stories of infants who were mistreated or killed after failed abortions."
"Democrats contend the investigations are one-sided and only the latest GOP attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion.
"A prominent abortion foe tried to make the case his testimony that Planned Parenthood was breaking laws. An abortion rights supporter said there was no such proof."