WASHINGTON, D.C., September 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - According to a letter leaked this morning, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has launched an investigation into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America to determine whether the abortion organization handles criminal conduct properly, or has mishandled federal funding to pay for abortions.

A letter to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards leaked to Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff shows Commerce Chairman Rep. Cliff Stearns telling the group to hand over official documentation that “ensures federal money received by PPFA and its affiliates is not being used to impermissibly subsidize abortion,” as well as “all official written policies and procedures” proving that PPFA segregates the funds in practice.

In addition, Stearns asked Richards to hand over policies and procedures showing Planned Parenthood “ensures” that all clinics “report all cases of suspected sexual abuse” and reports suspected sex trafficking.

Planned Parenthood responded to the investigation in a press release Tuesday. “Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit health care provider that provides professional, reliable and quality health care,” said Cecile Richards. “This politically motivated investigation is a continuation of the efforts of earlier this year to undermine Planned Parenthood, and more disturbingly, women’s access to the primary and preventive care they need.” 

In July the pro-life organization Americans United for Life (AUL) released a comprehensive report alleging that Planned Parenthood had misused Medicaid and Title X family planning funds and harbored “systemic financial irregularities.”

The group says AUL legal team researchers reached the conclusion after examining countless Planned Parenthood records, law enforcement reports, and other materials to outline the financial history of an organization that receives more than $363 million in federal taxpayer funding each year.

In addition, video evidence released by undercover pro-life investigators in recent years has shown several Planned Parenthood clinics in multiple states violating state laws, including covering up the sexual abuse of minors, helping young girls cross state lines to avoid parental notification laws, and coaching them to lie about their age to obtain abortions. Tapes also show several clinic workers and managers appearing to abet illegal sex traffickers seeking abortions and STD treatment for their underage prostitutes.

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest today called the investigation “a historic first step in getting the American taxpayer out of the business of subsidizing abortion.”

“We also want to congratulate Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, for his leadership on this issue and for his willingness to look more closely at Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for their fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars, as outlined in AUL’s report.”

The Committee letter gave Planned Parenthood a two-week deadline to provide all requested documentation.