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Democrats slam Trump administration for conservative group input on Planned Parenthood defunding

Democrats slam Trump administration for conservative group input on Planned Parenthood defunding

Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of coordinating with an "extremist" and "far-right" legal group in creating new guidance for states on defunding Planned Parenthood.

The guidance, released by the Department of Health and Human Services in January, said states don't have to comply with an Obama administration policy from April 2016 that warned restricting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood could violate federal law.

But House Oversight Committee ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings obtained documents from a whistleblower suggesting that HHS received a draft legal analysis from the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom a week before the announcement.

By law, federal funds do not go toward most abortions, but 17 states provide their own Medicaid funds to pay for medically necessary abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights and tracks related laws.

The Obama administration sent the 2016 letter after 10 states moved to end Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood in response to secretly taped videos that purported to show members of the organization discussing the trafficking of fetal tissue, a practice that is illegal.

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