In the midst of the talk about Republican plans to defund Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump has made an offer to fund the health organisation — provided that they halt their abortion services.
According to the New York Times, the proposal, which was never made formally, has been rejected by Planned Parenthood. While the organisation receives about $500 million each year in federal funding, that money helps pay for health services such as vital cancer screenings and pap smears, not abortions.
“Let’s be clear, federal funds already do not pay for abortions,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told New York 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.”
Again, it's worth noting that abortion is already such a small part of what Planned Parenthood actually does — in fact, it accounts for just about 3% of all services performed at Planned Parenthood clinics. Not to mention, the Hyde Amendment, which the House voted to make permanent in January, has made it so that taxpayer funding cannot be used for abortion.
In a statement to the New York Times, Trump confirmed discussions about the proposal.
“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 nonabortion services such as cancer screenings,” he said. “Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”
However, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand told New York Times that she suspected that the president was putting the proposal forth as a way to cover his bases and be able to claim that he had made an offer to Planned Parenthood, and that they were being unreasonable.
"The Trump administration needs to stop playing political games that would put access to the full range of safe reproductive care at risk, or they will get the fight of their lives," Gillibrand said.
“The White House proposal that Planned Parenthood stop providing abortion is the same demand opponents of women’s health have been pushing for decades, as a part of their long-standing effort to end women’s access to safe, legal abortion," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement shared with Refinery29. "Planned Parenthood has always stood strong against these attacks on our patients and their ability to access the full range of reproductive health care. We are glad that the White House understands that taking away the preventive care Planned Parenthood provides is deeply unpopular and would be a disaster for women’s health care."