WASHINGTON — Three major abortion providers received more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds over a three-year period, with a significant portion of the funds going to Planned Parenthood affiliates under legal scrutiny for allegedly selling fetal tissue and other violations.

The Government Accountability Office studied taxpayer funding that went to three organizations that perform abortion: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Marie Stopes International and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Between 2013 and 2015, these organizations spent $410 million in federal funding and received $1.2 billion in combined federal and state funds under federal programs in which funding must be shared.

“In short, more than $1.5 billion in tax dollars went to abortion providers over a three-year period,” said a March 8 statement from both the investigating Members of Congress and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

More than 120 members of the House and Senate requested the study, which was led by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

Ernst said the report “illustrates the absurd amount of taxpayer dollars funding the nation’s single largest provider of abortion services, Planned Parenthood, and its international affiliate organizations.”

“More than $1.5 billion in tax payer’s dollars should not go to an organization with such blatant disrespect for human life,” she said.

While federal rules limit federal funding for abortions, Planned Parenthood receives federal funding for other services related to preventive care, reproductive health and diagnostics.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the report means Congress should “finally follow through on the promise to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all.”

“It is bad enough that the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, continues to receive more than half a billion dollars a year from American taxpayers while embroiled in the horrific scandal of harvesting babies’ body parts for profit,” she said. “Now we can see that the worst offenders benefit most from taxes paid by America’s working men and women.”

In July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress began to release a series of undercover videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry leaders engaged in or enabling the illegal sale of aborted baby parts for profit.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Planned Parenthood over the sale of fetal tissue.

The Susan B. Anthony List analyzed the GAO report and found that four of the five top-funded Planned Parenthood affiliates have been referred to the Department of Justice by Congress for criminal investigation. The $544 million in tax dollars funding for these affiliates made up about one-third of Planned Parenthood’s $1.5 billion in taxpayer funding over the relevant period.

The top-funded affiliate, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, based in central California and Nevada, supplied organs to StemExpress. The affiliate’s chief medical officer Dr. Dorothy Fulgerson, as quoted in promotional materials, promoted “financially profitable” partnerships between abortion facilities and tissue procurement companies. The affiliate received $229 million in taxpayer dollars over the three years studied by the GAO report.

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, which received $106 million in the same time period, took a reputation hit when one of its abortion doctors, Dr. Deb Nucatola, was shown on video saying that an unborn baby’s body can be manipulated into breech position in a late-term abortion in order to ensure the baby’s organs remain intact.

In southern California, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest received $105 million in tax dollars. Its former medical director Dr. Katharine Sheehan said the affiliate provided organs to a bioscience company at $60 per specimen.

Planned Parenthood of Northern California, which received $104 million, allegedly violated federal health privacy rules in a systematic manner by disclosing individually identifiable, private medical information about patients to the tissue supplier StemExpress.

Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties received the second-largest amount in taxpayer funds, $118 million. Though it was not referred for investigation, one of its collaborators was.

It supplied organs to DV Biologics, which with its sister company DaVinci Biosciences LLC admitted to violating federal law and is shutting down through a legal settlement with the Orange County district attorney’s office — a settlement worth nearly $7.8 million in value.

Dannenfelser said community health care center alternatives are 20 times more prevalent than Planned Parenthood and “could make infinitely better use of those funds to provide comprehensive health care for women and families.”

Black was also critical of the abortion provider.

“Industry giants like Planned Parenthood perform more than 320,000 abortions every year, and this GAO report exposes that these atrocities are done at the expense of taxpayers,” she said. “No matter our views on abortion, or the party label beside our name, we must ensure that our money is spent responsibly and with integrity.”

Smith praised the Trump administration’s policies barring funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions overseas and said similar standards should become “the standard for all government funding.”

Black wrote the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, while Ernst has introduced legislation to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood to other eligible women’s health care providers.

The response to the videos from Planned Parenthood and its allies included a multi-million dollar lobbying effort, a 2015 document from the Open Society Foundations indicated.

According to CNN, Planned Parenthood’s political arms, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes, are planning to spend at least $20 million on the 2018 elections, focusing on U.S. senate and gubernatorial races in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“I spent my entire career as a nurse fighting for the dignity of every human being, and I have witnessed the emotional, physical and psychological effects abortion has on mothers,” Black said. “All of us in the health care field took an oath to fight for life, and abortion destroys that.”