Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is chairing a select investigative committee that purports to be investigating "big abortion providers" -- but for all intents and purposes is only scrutinizing Planned Parenthood -- said in a statement Tuesday that "the mission of our investigation has not changed." [...] Blackburn's committee was created even as other Republicans, like Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said they didn't find any evidence of wrongdoing on the provider's part. Multiple state investigations have come to similar conclusions.
It's a safe bet that the investigations into Planned Parenthood's work haven't gone as well as the group's far-right critics had hoped.
As we discussed yesterday, when "undercover" videos targeting the health organization first surfaced, many Republican officials and far-right activists believed the controversy would lead to criminal indictments. This week, however, a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, and instead indicted the conservatives responsible for the "sting" operation against the group. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick published a piece this week explaining that the folks behind the Center for Medical Progress "have a slew of legal troubles" on their hands.
The editorial board of the Washington Post argued that it's time for the GOP to "give up its crusade" against Planned Parenthood. The Huffington Post reported yesterday, however, that congressional Republicans are "determined to push on."
GOP lawmakers' reluctance to accept the evidence as it exists seems unsustainable.
Remember, it's not just the Texas grand jury that cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. At last count, 11 states -- Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and South Dakota -- launched official investigations into the organization's work. Each of the 11 probes reached the same conclusion: Planned Parenthood did not illegally sell fetal tissue.
Other states considered investigations, but chose not to move forward due to lack of evidence.
Given these circumstances, congressional Republicans should probably come up with some kind of rationale to explain why their crusade will continue. The truth -- it's a politically motivated stunt intended to motivate far-right activists -- isn't a good enough answer.
Disclosure: My wife works at Planned Parenthood, but she played no role in this piece and her work is unrelated to the controversial videos or any of the official inquiries mentioned above.