Ivanka Trump's meeting with Planned Parenthood fails to cool tensions

Ivanka Trump has a message for critics
Ivanka Trump has a message for critics

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Story highlights

  • Trump has said she supports the women's health group
  • The meeting didn't result in further contacts

Washington (CNN)Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter and top adviser, met with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in January, sources confirm to CNN.

The sit-down brought together Trump, who is portrayed as a moderating force in her father's White House on issues such as women's health, and Richards, a staunch ally of Hillary Clinton's during the 2016 campaign and the head of an organization that has long drawn the ire of Republicans.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood confirmed the meeting, which was first reported by Politico.
    The duo had "a cordial and informative meeting shortly after the inauguration," the spokeswoman said. "The purpose of the meeting, from Planned Parenthood's perspective, was to make sure that Ivanka Trump fully understood the important role Planned Parenthood plays in providing health care to millions of people and why it would be a disastrous idea to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood."
    The spokeswoman added: "It was also important to clear up any misinformation regarding the Medicaid reimbursements Planned Parenthood receives and explain that Planned Parenthood is reimbursed the same way hospitals are. It's not a budget line item."
    Multiple White House spokespeople did not respond to CNN's questions about the meeting.
    The meeting has not altered the way Planned Parenthood views the Trump administration -- or the way Richards views Ivanka Trump.
    "Anyone who works in this White House is responsible for addressing why women are in the crosshairs of basically every single policy we've seen in this administration," Richards said, speaking at a women's forum on Wednesday.
    While trying to cultivate her image as a moderating force inside the Trump administration, Ivanka Trump has been slammed by groups for not making public denouncements of policies she personally disagrees with. This has irked leaders from groups working on women's health and equal pay, who see her as talking about their issues but not standing up when the President goes against their interests.
    In an interview with CBS, Trump defended herself from those critiques.
    "I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence," she said. "I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard ... So where I disagree with my father, he knows it."
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    The meeting -- and whatever information Trump took away from it -- also did not sway her father's administration, which has since targeted the organization. The Republican health care bill, which was fully backed by the White House, would have defunded Planned Parenthood.
    Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote last month on a measure that would let states decide whether to withhold federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
    Republicans have targeted the organization because it provides abortion coverage to women across the country. The bulk of federal money Planned Parenthood receives, though, goes toward preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests and other women's health services; federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
    Planned Parenthood says 3% of the services it provides are abortions.
    Donald Trump, who has said it is "possible" he donated to Planned Parenthood in the past, proposed in March he would support maintaining federal funding for the organization if it ceased providing abortion services. Planned Parenthood rejected the idea after White House officials floated it to them.