WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)–June 9, 2016. Today, Select Panel Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky delivered the following statement urging the House to defeat the previous question, allowing consideration of H.R. 769 to shut down the Republican Panel to Attack Women’s Health.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so that Mr. Hastings can offer H.Res.769, a resolution to shut down the Select Panel that we call the Select Panel to Attack Women’s Health.
House Republicans created this panel based on a lie, on fraudulent videotapes that have been discredited by three House Committees, twelve states, and a Texas grand jury that actually indicted the video maker. They have used this fraud as a pretext to conduct a lethally dangerous witch hunt aimed at women’s health clinics and scientists who are conducting promising research on diseases like Alzheimer’s, MS, and the Zika virus.
Panel Republicans are bullying witnesses and abusing congressional authority in a manner not seen since the days of Senator Joe McCarthy – but this time people’s lives, not just their livelihoods, are at stake.
Republicans have issued dozens of unilateral subpoenas without first seeking voluntary cooperation. Republicans are demanding the names of researchers, students, clinical personnel, and doctors, and medical students – amassing a database that could be released publicly at any time. Republicans refuse to put rules in place to protect these names and have reneged on public promises to do so.
Instead, they have publicly released names and confidential documents. They issued a press release naming a doctor who has already faced decades of harassment and violence, disclosed the time, place, and location of his appearance before the Panel, and fueled the flames by comparing him to a convicted murderer.
They have repeatedly used inflammatory rhetoric – comparing researchers to Nazi war criminals and echoing words of anti-abortion activists that were also used by the gunman who shot twelve people, killing three, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
Republicans have demanded and obtained information that they have no right or need to know, including records of victims of rape and personal financial information.
The Republicans are abusing power and putting people’s lives in danger in pursuit of their agenda to limit legal abortion and a women’s right to choose and to shut down fetal tissue research.
Fetal tissue research has historically had broad bipartisan support. It is the basis for key vaccines that have saved millions of lives, including the polio vaccine. The so-called “investigative panel” has already had a chilling effect on research, drying up the supply of needed tissue for research on Multiple Sclerosis and threatening research on other diseases including Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
We should now be ending this dangerous and unjustified witch hunt. It is time to say “no” to this Panel and it is time to say “no” to the previous question so that we can have a strong debate on the House floor and finally defund this Panel.
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