House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said federal funding for Planned Parenthood should cease until the conclusion of a congressional investigation into two videos in which organization officials seem to be talking about the sale of fetal body parts for profit.
"At the very least, there should be a moratorium until this investigation is done," the California Republican said during a briefing with reporters Monday in the Capitol.
The organization is heavily subsidized by the federal government, in part because it provides health services to women of all income levels. But the organization also performs hundreds of thousands of abortions annually and the videos have spurred demand among GOP lawmakers to end taxpayer funding of the group.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called on several House panels, including the Judiciary Committee, to examine Planned Parenthood's actions and determine if the group broke the law by profiting from the sale of fetal remains.
"Did this break the law?" McCarthy asked Monday. "Is Planned Parenthood putting the mother's life in jeopardy somehow to protect the organs of the baby? These are serious questions. Regardless of where anyone stands on the issue, is this how tax dollars should be spent?"
The organization receives about $500 million in taxpayer money annually.
Congress can stop federal funding of the group either through its jurisdiction over government spending legislation, or via a standalone measure. McCarthy pointed to such a bill, sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.
Black's legislation would put an "immediate moratorium," on all federal funding of Planned Parenthood for the next year while House panels investigate the videos.
The controversy over the organization began earlier this month when a watchdog group made public two undercover videos. Planned Parenthood denies any wrongdoing and says it donates the tissue for research and other worthy causes, and does not profit from these donations.