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Watch: Planned Parenthood Chief Won't Say Whether Women’s Health or Politics Is a Greater Priority

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“Every dollar you get in federal dollars means you don’t necessarily have to allocate it for these particular assets.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., left, talks to assistants before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Conservative House Republicans have demanded a government shutdown if lawmakers don't defund Planned Parenthood, the women's reproductive health-care provider whose services include abortion. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When pressed by members of Congress on which is more important — politics or health care — Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards didn’t have a decisive answer.

On the hot seat during her testimony in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday, Richards faced many questions about the organization’s finances amid the debate over defunding in response to undercover videos seemed to show Planned Parenthood officials talking about selling aborted fetal body parts.

After one Republican said the problem with federal funding for the group is the “co-mingling” with partisan political activity, Richards asserted that political activity and providing health care "go hand in hand."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., left, talks to assistants before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Sept. 29, 2015. Conservative House Republicans have demanded a government shutdown if lawmakers don't defund Planned Parenthood. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

After several Democratic committee members called the veracity of the videos into question, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said, “I’ll try to make my Democratic colleagues happy and ask funding questions that have nothing to do with the videos.”

Mulvaney’s opening question to Richards: “Which is more important to you, Ms. Richards, actually providing women’s health care services or lobbying?”

Richards, who had spent much of the hearing defending the organization’s record on women’s health, didn’t immediately have an answer.

"Well, I think these two things go hand in hand," Richards said, "and certainly, what we have learned over the years is that in order to provide health care services to women you also have to be able to advocate money for women who are underserved."

Mulvaney related this to a matter that had previously been established, that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms.

“You’ve spent $21 million on lobbying in the last couple of years. You’ve spent zero dollars on mammograms. Why is that?” Mulvaney asked.

“We are not a radiological clinic,” Richards responded. “I guess we could take it up, but we never have provided mammograms because we work in concert with folks who do provide radiological services.”

Earlier in the hearing, committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) brought up the organization's political ties. Richards said none of the organization’s political activities gets federal money.

“The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is a totally separate corporation and receives no federal funds whatsoever,” Richards said.

Chaffetz brought up that she receives a $31,000 salary from the political arm, in addition to her $520,000 salary at Planned Parenthood.

“Some of my time is allocated to it, but I do not oversee it,” Richards answered.

This is the problem, Chaffetz said.

“Shared employees, shared assets, shared lists, shared emails, this is the concern. It’s the co-mingling that bothers us,” Chaffetz said. “Every dollar you get in federal dollars means you don’t necessarily have to allocate it for these particular assets.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates Planned Parenthood gets about $450 million per year in federal funds.

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