U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, obscure no more, pushes on Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON — The young woman visited U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns last spring and what she showed him triggered a controversy that has brought abortion roaring back into the national political discourse.
Stearns, R-Ocala, watched a series of covert videos made by Lila Rose and her team at Liveaction.org that appeared to show Planned Parenthood workers advising a fake sex trafficker and prostitute how to obtain medical services. In New Jersey, an employee used a highlighter to circle an address where a 14-year-old could get an abortion.
"Undercover videos often times might lack a credibility," Stearns said in an interview Wednesday. But appalled by what he saw, and struck by Rose's dedication, he used his powerful committee perch in Congress to begin an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer money for abortions.
The issue erupted this month when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation said it was withdrawing financial support from Planned Parenthood because it was under investigation, only to reverse course amid fierce backlash.
For the second time in a year, Stearns was thrust into the national spotlight, a remarkable feat for a lawmaker who has gained little notice despite having served in the House for more than two decades. (story here)