Groups accuse Trump of co-opting women’s health as ‘sales pitch for harmful policy’

Groups accuse Trump of co-opting women’s health as ‘sales pitch for harmful policy’
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A group of 40 prominent abortion rights, civil rights and health advocacy groups is accusing President Trump's administration of promoting harmful policies under the guise of woman's health. 

The new letter, addressed to Trump, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and White House aide Ivanka Trump blasts the administration's recent statement celebrating Women's Health Week, accusing Trump of using that statement as cover to promote "harmful" policies. 

"Unfortunately, rather than having a thoughtful and informed dialogue about how to actually improve women's health, you have simply co-opted 'women's health' to use as a sales pitch for harmful policy," the letter reads. 

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"While your statement on Women's Health Week notes that 'women should have access to quality prenatal, maternal and newborn care' including a 'choice in health insurance and in health care providers,' the policies of your administration do exactly the opposite. And women in America will not be fooled."  

The signers include top reproductive rights groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, as well as a smattering of women's groups, health professional associations and others. 

The letter specifically points to the administration's support of the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, which has earned criticism for its cuts to Medicaid. Other targeted administration policies include a push to shut down Planned Parenthood centers, which the signers argue will decrease access to women's healthcare, and the decision to strengthen the “global gag rule” that prohibits any organization that receives American aid from funding abortions. 

"We call upon this administration to reverse course and work with Congress to pursue an agenda that reflects a true and informed commitment to women's health, rights and progress," the letter ends. 

Progressive groups have bristled at the administration's policies on abortion and women's issues since Inauguration Day, but the decision to specifically include first daughter Ivanka Trump, who is reportedly taking the reins on much of Trump's women's issues agenda, shows an attempt to ramp up the pressure. 

Last month, reports came out that Ivanka Trump met with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in January in the hopes of softening the relationship between women's groups and the president.

But it's unclear whether that meeting helped, as Richards called on Ivanka Trump to "stand up" for women during a March event sponsored by Buzzfeed.