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Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner has named Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, to a new select committee charged with investigating Planned Parenthood after a controversy over the use of fetal tissue in medical research.
Utah's freshman House member has repeatedly expressed her anger, even tearing up during a television appearance, over videos purportedly showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal parts obtained through abortions.
"It's absolutely horrific," Love told Lou Dobbs on Fox Business in August. "We've got to do everything we can ... to make sure that we don't allow this to happen."
Love on Friday called her appointment "a significant responsibility."
"I believe this committee should only focus on possible illegal activity," she said. "It should aim for fairness and transparency and remain nonpolitical."
The health organization claims the videos driving this investigation are doctored and says it did not sell the fetal tissue but did negotiate a fee to recoup costs, as allowed by law. In reaction to the monthslong controversy, Planned Parenthood has announced it no longer will collect a fee to provide fetal tissue to researchers.
But that has done nothing to slow criticism from Republicans. Three House committees have investigated, but Boehner, R-Ohio, who has announced he'll leave Congress when the GOP caucus names his successor, has called for a more thorough probe.
He named Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to lead the select committee and picked seven other Republicans, including Love, for the new panel.
"Chairman Blackburn and our members will have the resources and the subpoena power to get to the bottom of these horrific practices," Boehner said, "and build on our work to protect the sanctity of all human life."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has yet to name any Democrats to the select committee, though she criticized the endeavor. "Hardworking families deserve better than a taxpayer-funded Republican committee fixated on dismantling women's health."
One of the previous probes was led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and it focused on Planned Parenthood's finances. In late September, Chaffetz and other committee members questioned Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's president.
Chaffetz received widespread criticism for using a misleading chart about the health procedures offered by the organization. He ended the hearing by questioning the amount of money the organization spends overseas and the amount it pays its top people.
Afterward, he said: "Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn't find any."
Chaffetz emphasized that his comments were only about the finances and didn't delve into the controversial videos. He has subpoenaed The Center for Medical Progress, the group of anti-abortion activists that secretly recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood officials to get the unedited videos. Chaffetz set up a viewing room where lawmakers could watch them, though Democrats say they believe the videos were copies that could have been altered.
In Utah, Love participated in an August rally against Planned Parenthood, held in the Capitol Rotunda, saying: "This is not a right and left issue for me. It is a right and wrong issue."
She stood with Gov. Gary Herbert, who had ordered the Utah Department of Health to stop passing along federal funding to the organization, even though none of it supported abortions and the Utah chapter of Planned Parenthood doesn't provide fetal tissue to researchers.
That order has been blocked by a federal judge, and the money continues to flow to the organization in Utah.