According to documents obtained by Politico, the Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) under Trump worked with a conservative group on a letter announcing states no longer needed to comply with the Obama-era policy that made it harder for them to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
The rollback was announced last month and targeted Planned Parenthood as well as other health organizations that provide abortions in a letter sent to states. Charmaine Yoest, Health and Human Services secretary for Public Affairs told reporters at the time: “This is part of the Trump administration’s effort to roll back regulations the Obama administration put out to radically favor abortion.”
A week before the Trump administration announced that states would not have to comply with Obama’s policy, the HHS reportedly received a draft legal analysis from the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, according to House Oversight Committee ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings. Matt Bowman, the HHS deputy general counsel, worked at the Alliance Defending Freedom before joining the administration.
A whistleblower had shared the documents with Cummings, who said that the information raises “serious concerns about whether the Trump administration is now taking orders from an extreme right-wing interest group that is trying to deny American citizens the ability to exercise their right to obtain family planning services from the provider of their choice” in a letter to the HHS. The HHS actually sped up the processing and release of the letter so that it would coincide with January’s March for Life rally.
As a result of the aggressive targeting of Planned Parenthood by Republicans, the organization has already closed down centers across the country and Trump is still trying different ways to legally allow states to rescind funding from the organization.