Emerging from its winter hibernation, the House Select Committee on Planned Parenthood has issued a slew of subpoenas that signal the committee is expanding the scope of its investigation and exceeding its mandate.
The committee is not just targeting clinics that provide abortions or participate in fetal tissue research programs. The committee is also targeting research scientists.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the committee could be “complicit” in murders of those researchers if their names became public and they are then killed. Democrats pointed to the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado to illustrate the danger.
Nadler asked the committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), why the names of medical researchers are needed by the committee.
“No, sir, I am not going to answer that,” Blackburn replied.
Rep. Blackburn has asked her fellow committee members to join her in "focusing on bioethics" and, far as I'm aware, that was not within the original scope of the committee's mission. What we have here, if I may barrow a cliche, is genuine mission creep.
One could hardly call this unprecedented. After all, the Select Committee on Benghazi somehow became the Select Committee on Email Security. The Select Committee on Planned Parenthood may now become the committee on ethics in bio medical research.
While announcing the new subpoenas, Blackburn also referred to the long-discredited anti-Planned Parenthood videos which led to an indictment of their creator, the head of the so-called Center for Medical Progress.
This committee was originally cast as an investigation of Planned Parenthood but numerous investigations at the state level have already cleared the nonprofit organization of wrongdoing. Republicans in the House are clearly moving the goal posts to justify the committee's continued existence.