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April 20, 2016

Federal Officials Warn States on Cutting Off Planned Parenthood Funding

The Obama administration issued guidance to states directors Tuesday outlining potential violations of federal law if states halt Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood, The Wall Street Journal reports. The letter to state Medicaid directors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notes that beneficiaries of the federal health program are entitled to obtain services from any qualified provider of their choice.

Planned Parenthood annually gets about $528 million, more than 40 percent of its budget, from governments as reimbursement for providing non-abortion health services to low-income women. Ten states have moved to cut off such funding since last summer's release of undercover videos by an anti-abortion group that purports that Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.

Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations, and several state-level investigations have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the group. The administration has previously warned states that they may exclude providers that commit fraud or other criminal activities but not because abortion is among the range of services they offer.