Human Events Blog

Planned Parenthood under scrutiny after woman dies in botched abortion

Planned Parenthood under scrutiny after woman dies in botched abortion

A Chicago woman named Tonya Reaves, 24, died last Friday of hemorrhaging after a second-trimester abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic.  She was reportedly engaged to be married, and leaves behind a one-year-old son.

This prompted Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), who has already launched one probe of Planned Parenthood and declared their responses unsatisfactory, to call for hearings.  Stearns told Fox News, “I would like to put them under oath.  I would like to find out how they spend our half a billion dollars, and I would also like to explore some of the safety aspects, particularly in light of this death, of this tragedy.”

Stearns, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has also been a leading opponent of sex-selection abortions, as a video prepared by his office chronicles:

Rep. Stearns’ call for further official examination of Planned Parenthood was echoed by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, whose president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said, “Congress has an obligation to exercise clear and regular oversight of businesses like Planned Parenthood that receive hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding and have such dramatic impact on the lives of women and unborn children.”

Dannenfelser referred back to Rep. Stearns’ earlier investigation: “Left unregulated, the abortion industry clearly cannot be trusted to look out for the true interests of women.  Earlier this year, Congressman Cliff Stearns launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood which raised a list of questions and issues concerning safety and oversight of Planned Parenthood.  The American people need to know the answers to those questions about internal operations so that Americans can be assured women’s interests are protected.”

Planned Parenthood was recently exposed for complicity in sex-selection abortions in a series of videos released by Live Action, and several of their offices around the nation are under scrutiny for billing fraud – including Planned Parenthood of Illinois, whose medical director is under review for having possibly over-billed Medicaid.

The safety of abortion procedures is a matter of great controversy.  It’s difficult to find a single piece of hard data that isn’t challenged as misleading, or manipulated, by either pro-life or pro-abortion forces.  It is generally said that abortions, like other medical procedures, have become much safer over the years, with a current rate of 0.3 percent commonly cited for severe short-term complications.  Long-term complications are a subject of even more intense debate.

Of course, the general safety rate does not mean that individual clinics and organizations should not be carefully monitored, especially when they receive huge amounts of taxpayer money.  There is good reason to insist that such monitoring be even more comprehensive than usual for medical clinics.  Unlike most medical procedures, every abortion results in at least one fatality, by definition.

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