Planned Parenthood improperly took tens of millions of dollars' worth of government loans intended to help businesses during the coronavirus, according to a group of Republicans who want to see the organization investigated.
House lawmakers accused Planned Parenthood of unlawfully using the Small Business Administration's COVID-response program, the Paycheck Protection Program, to obtain millions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R., Mo.) and Byron Donalds (R., Fla.) wrote that the Committee on Small Business is calling for the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration to investigate the organization's actions.
"We insist that the SBA and the Department of the Treasury investigate 1.) the distribution of these loans in violation of the relevant affiliation rules and 2.) whether Planned Parenthood violated the law," the lawmakers wrote in a Friday letter.
In May 2020, the multibillion-dollar organization came under fire for taking $80 million in small-business assistance loans. Planned Parenthood said that its local affiliates qualified for the assistance. The Small Business Administration, however, demanded the money be returned, saying local branches were too closely associated with the national organization to be considered independent. Now, GOP lawmakers are looking for answers as to whether or not the organization broke the law.
"At a time where small-business owners are working tirelessly to open their doors and contribute to their communities again, we must ensure the SBA is using relief funding for its intended purpose—assisting our nation’s hardest hit small businesses, not America’s most tragic abortion provider," Luetkemeyer told the Free Beacon. "The SBA must immediately investigate Planned Parenthood’s blatant violation of the rules to ensure guidelines are followed and American taxpayer dollars are protected."
The letter comes as President Joe Biden's Department of Health and Human Services threw open the door for taxpayer-funded abortion. The department unveiled new rules concerning Title X family planning funding that reversed Trump administration policies limiting taxpayer funding for abortion providers. Donalds said taxpayer dollars should not be used to subsidize abortion providers.
"Planned Parenthood—the nation's most notorious abortion provider that has an estimated $2 billion in assets and over 16,000 employees—receiving taxpayer dollars through the Paycheck Protection Program is extremely concerning," he said.
Planned Parenthood defended the loans and accused congressional Republicans of focusing on "baseless political attacks" and targeting centers that "provide essential health care."
"Like many other local nonprofits and health care providers, the independent Planned Parenthood 501(c)(3) organizations who were awarded PPP loans met the eligibility requirements established by both Congress and the Small Business Administration," said Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy for Planned Parenthood for America.
The Trump administration made changes to the Title X family planning program designed to limit the amount of taxpayer funding for abortion providers. Planned Parenthood withdrew from the program rather than comply with limitations on abortion referrals, forgoing approximately $60 million in annual federal funding.
The HHS rules are expected to take months to implement but will effectively return Title X funding policy to its pre-Trump status. Senate Republicans ripped Biden for allowing the abortion industry to profit from his presidency.
"President Biden took millions from the abortion industry during his campaign," Sen. Steve Daines (R., Mont.) said. "Now, Planned Parenthood is cashing in."