The head of the House Oversight Committee in the US Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), accused Planned Parenthood on Tuesday of spending more than $40 million in US federal dollars on “lavish” travel, theme parties and a luxurious Manhattan office, according to The Hill.
Chaffetz (R-Utah) grilled Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who appeared before his panel for the first time, and accused her organization of racking up “exorbitant travel expenses,” including first-class flights and charter travel.
He also cited figures regarding entertainment costs that included $622,706 on “blowout” theme parties with celebrity guests.
Some of the themed parties had names such as “Gathering of Goddesses and Gods,” “Chocolate Champagne” and “Murder Mystery,” according to a report released by the committee in the course of Tuesday's hearing.
Chaffetz also questioned Richards over her salary, which she said totaled $520,000 last year. “That’s money that’s not going to women’s healthcare,” the congressman noted.
'A witness beaten up'
The Oversight Committee report details Planned Parenthood’s total travel expenditure of $5,109,997 in 2013. Planned Parenthood’s real estate holdings, the report found, include $34.8 million for its corporate office space in New York City in 2011. In 2015, it sold a 72,000 square-foot condominium for $69.6 million.
One of the committee’s top Democrats said Chaffetz was out of line for asking about Richard’s salary. “I find it totally inappropriate and discriminatory,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said. "I’ve never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary."
Republicans in Congress have been pushing to halt the group’s federal funding since the release of a series of undercover videos on Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue program.
A similar process would be highly unlikely to occur in Israel, which is considered one of the world most liberal countries as regards abortion. Abortions are funded by the government for women aged up to 33 and very few questions are asked. Abortions performed up to the 24th week of pregnancy require approval from a committee of experts, but 98% of requests are approved. Abortions after the 24th week require approval from a special committee.
An estimated 50% of the abortions are performed illegally.