A congressional watchdog agency has agreed to investigate how Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights organizations spend federal funds, drawing praise from pro-life advocates inside and outside the legislative branch, Baptist Press reports. Members of Congress announced August 5 that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had accepted their request for such an investigation. A GAO spokesman confirmed with Baptist Press on August 6 that the nonpartisan agency had agreed to conduct the review. Disclosure of the investigation comes at a time when Planned Parenthood's use of government funds is drawing closer scrutiny. Only a week before, one of the affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $4.3 million for alleged Medicaid fraud. Other Medicaid fraud suits are pending against Planned Parenthood, the country's leading abortion provider. The GAO's agreement came in response to a February request for such a study by Rep. Diane Black, R.-Tenn., and more than 70 other congressional members. They asked for an update on a 2010 report regarding the federal agencies and programs that were the sources of the government funds, how the money was distributed and what services were provided by the abortion organizations. A January report by PPFA showed it established records for both the most abortions performed and most government funds received in the latest year for which statistics are available. PPFA said its affiliates performed 333,964 of the lethal procedures during 2010-11. It received $542.4 million in federal, state and local government grants and reimbursements during the latest fiscal year. Black described federal funding of abortion providers as "a serious problem in our nation." The GAO study is needed for Congress "to ensure accountability and oversight" of organizations that perform abortions, she said. Planned Parenthood and other abortion organizations "clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there's no accounting to prove how they actually use that money," Sen. David Vitter, R.-La., said. "This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent."