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Sec. Burwell: HHS Won’t Investigate Planned Parenthood

Says she has not seen videos

Testifying before the Education and the Workforce Committee earlier today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell declined to state whether her department would investigate the gruesome abortion practices by Planned Parenthood that have been raised in a series of recent videos.

Secretary Burwell, who testified that she had not personally viewed any of the widely-available videos, suggested this is a matter more appropriately referred to the Department of Justice. According to the Government Accountability Office, Planned Parenthood, through both the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, received $67.2 million from HHS between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2012, of which $62.8 million (93 percent) came directly from the Office of the Secretary.

Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN): Have you seen those videos?

Sec. Burwell: I have not seen the videos. I have read the articles about them.


Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA): I would like some commitment from you here today on when your department will conduct an investigation on this very, very serious matter…Can you tell me when we're going to do something about that?

Sec. Burwell: This is an important issue and one that there is passionate and emotion and belief on many sides of the issue and want to respect that … With regard to investigating or looking into those issues, as I said, because it is a statutory legal issue, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General has said she has taken those issues under review and will determine what the appropriate next step is.

Chairman John Kline (R-MN): The activities which have been so abhorrent to so many of us that have been revealed in these videos that are the actions of Planned Parenthood, you believe that is solely a matter for the Department of Justice. Is that correct?

Sec. Burwell: With regard to the determination of if a law has been broken, in those cases, that is the Department of Justice. If there are any concerns at all with our grantees, we would want to refer that to our IG and/or the Department of Justice depending on those circumstances.

To learn more about today’s hearing, or to watch an archived webcast, visit

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