WASHINGTON, D.C.– (ENEWSPF)–March 24, 2016. Today Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky released the following statement in response to being told by the Republican Chair of the Select Investigative Panel of her plan to issue 17 additional subpoenas:
“There is no legitimate need for the names of researchers, students, clinic personnel and doctors; and amassing a database that could be released publicly at any time is a threat to anyone whose name might be on that list. We live in a world where women have to face a gauntlet of harassment to get to their doctors and where websites list the names and addresses of physicians who perform abortions – some with maps and directions to their homes. Even medical researchers who seek treatments and cures using fetal tissue are targets; and some have abandoned their research as a result.
The latest announcement that Chair Blackburn intends to issue a slew of up to 17 additional subpoenas – all in an effort to create an unwarranted and dangerous database of names – is a clear escalation in the Panel’s partisan attack on research and health care. The Chair has refused even to tell Democrats who their secret subpoenas are going to or why. The Republican leadership should bring this partisan witch hunt to an end. ”
Republicans are abusing their congressional power by refusing to tell Democrats who they are subpoenaing, or specifically what they are demanding. House and Committee rules require the Chair to notify and consult with the Ranking Member 72 hours before issuing a subpoena. In this instance, the Chair told the Ranking Member but, in refusing even to provide the names of the intended recipients or copies of the subpoena, has refused to consult in any meaningful way.
Republicans did share that some of the subpoenas are to entities that have redacted names of individuals in their productions and others are to entities that have never received a written request for information. Typically, congressional committees first request information in writing in order to attempt to obtain the information through a letter request before they issue subpoenas for that information. Subpoenas are usually taken as a last resort, not first step, in an investigation.
After the release of the highly-edited and now widely-discredited videos, incidents of harassment against Planned Parenthood increased ninefold during the month of July 2015. Last November, an anti-abortion extremist murdered three people, injured nine others, and terrorized doctors and patients at a Planned Parenthood health center. The shooter used the phrase “no more baby parts” to explain his attack. And the uptick in violence and threat was so significant that the FBI issued an Intelligence Assessment warning. It also resulted in an order from a U.S. district judge blocking the release of additional videos.