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Congress holds Planned Parenthood hearing, doesn’t invite Planned Parenthood to testify

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Congress called four witnesses to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a hearing on Planned Parenthood's practices.

But there was one party conspicuously missing: Planned Parenthood itself.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats on the committee invited the group to testify, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Erica Sackin confirmed.

A series of sting videos shot by anti-abortion activists ricocheted across the internet this summer. Republicans on the Hill responded in force, threatening to try to cut federal funds. The hearing Wednesday was called "Planned Parenthood Exposed: examining the horrific abortion practices at the nation's largest abortion provider."

Instead, House Republicans invited the following guests:

  • James Bopp, who is general counsel to the National Right to Life
  • Gianna Jessen, an anti-abortion advocate who was born after a failed abortion attempt in 1977
  • Melissa Ohden, also an anti-abortion advocate born after a failed abortion attempt

The House Judiciary Democrats' witness at the hearing was Priscilla Smith, who studies reproductive health issues at Yale Law School.

House committees have previously run into trouble with reproductive health hearings that leave out crucial parties as witnesses. After a 2012 hearing on birth control, photographs of the all-male panel of witnesses spread across the web.

Planned Parenthood supporters were out in force in the hearing's audience, wearing bright pink T-shirts reading "Stand with Planned Parenthood." But at a hearing squarely focused on the group and how it works, Republicans and Democrats had no chance to ask questions — and Planned Parenthood did not have any chance to speak.

Read more about the Planned Parenthood controversy here.

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