The White House proposed protecting Planned Parenthood's federal funding, a vital funding stream for the reproductive health organization, if it would stop providing abortions, The New York Times reported on Monday night.
Although the offer has not been made formally, leaders at Planned Parenthood have already rejected the deal as a move that would critically endanger its mission to women. Planned Parenthood receives about $500 million in federal funding each year, none of which goes to providing abortion services.
“Let’s be clear, federal funds already do not pay for abortions,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the Times. “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept. Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”
In a statement to the newspaper, President Trump confirmed the discussions with Planned Parenthood.
“As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services such as cancer screenings,” he said. "There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”
During the campaign, Trump was often the lone Republican voice of (somewhat) moderation about Planned Parenthood, pointing out that the bulk of the organization's services come in the form of cancer screenings and other routine reproductive health care.
Now, as president, the discussions about Planned Parenthood have put him in between his allegiance to eldest daughter Ivanka, a close confidant who has pushed her father on women's issues, and the conservative Republican base, which is expected to include provisions to defund Planned Parenthood in the House's draft budget.
We already know what a future without Planned Parenthood looks like courtesy of Texas: If you eliminate reproductive health care providers that serve low-income women, the number of pregnancies and births among the poorest women increase, and not just by a little. The real-life cost is worth Trump–and his Republican colleagues'–consideration the next time they start blustering about women's health.