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August 18, 2015

Planned Parenthood Pushes Back as States Target Funding

While several Republican-controlled states seek to cut off government funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization appears to be gaining legal and regulatory traction in the controversy over its provision of fetal tissue for medical research, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota—four of about a dozen states investigating an anti-abortion group's claim that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from selling fetal remains—have cleared the women's health nonprofit, the Journal writes. Planned Parenthood says it donates fetal tissue with the permission of abortion patients and receives only reimbursement from research institutions to cover its costs, in accordance with federal law.

Planned Parenthood runs such donation programs only in California, Oregon, and Washington. Officials in five other states—Arkansas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, and New Hampshire—have announced plans to terminate Medicaid funds for the organization, the Times reports, and Florida health officials took action Monday against three Planned Parenthood clinics there, claiming regulatory violations.

Money from the joint federal/state health program supports family planning, cancer screening, and other non-abortion-related services at Planned Parenthood clinics. The Obama administration has warned states that withholding the funds could breach U.S. law.