THE RELEASE OF a series of controversial videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the organization’s fetal tissue donation program continue to stir up dissent. The videos, which were filmed undercover by the Center for Medical Process, have led to a battle over Planned Parenthood’s funding. Social conservative members of the Republican Party have promised to not support any funding bill which includes financial support for Planned Parenthood, potentially leading to another government shutdown with current funding set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015. According to The Hill, Presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has vowed to lead the fight against the organization, saying, “the Department of Justice needs to investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood for any potential criminal actions of commercial trafficking of fetal organs.”
Similarly in the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is facing an uprising from conservative members of his party who, like Sen. Cruz, refuse to vote for a spending plan that includes funds for Planned Parenthood. Politico reports, Speaker Boehner would prefer “prefer to build bipartisan opposition to funding the group through a series of high-profile Congressional investigations.”
Speaker Boehner’s office itself became embroiled in video scandal when it was reported that Charlotte Ivancic, Speaker Boehner’s health policy director was related to Cate Dyer (they are sisters). Cate Dyer is the founder and CEO of StemExpress, and she was also featured in the videos released by the Center for Medical Process due to her organization’s connection to Planned Parenthood. On August 5th Charlotte Ivancic left Speaker Boehner’s office to work for lobbying firm Tarplin, Downs & Young according to reports from The Hill.
Planned Parenthood, which Politico reports has spent nearly $1.3 million on lobbying during the first six months of 2015, according to federal disclosures, has hired public relations firm SKDKickerbocker to help manage with the on-going situation. The organization also has Capitol Council, a D.C. based lobbying firm on retainer.