The White House, in a brilliant move, is calling Planned Parenthood’s bluff by offering to preserve federal payments to the group if it stops providing abortions.
Planned Parenthood receives $500 million annually from the federal government. Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards replied to the news of Trump’s proposal by saying PP "will always stand for women's ability to make decisions about their health and lives, without interference from politicians.”
The group’s executive vice-president Dawn Laguens, responded, “Let’s be clear: Federal funds already do not pay for abortions. 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.”
On Monday, President Trump told The New York Times:
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.”
The Times reported, “In private discussions with people close to Planned Parenthood, White House officials have suggested that there could even be an increase in federal earmarks if the work related to abortion ends.”
The White House’s position is consistent with Trump’s rhetoric during the presidential campaign; in February 2016, he said in a presidential debate, “Millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, was pleased that Trump was following through on his promises, saying, “We’re not used to that in politics.”
Trump’s position is more tepid than congressional Republicans, who want to strip all funding from Planned Parenthood. The House bill to replace the Affordable Care Act includes such a provision.
“We’re not used to that in politics.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, speaking approvingly of President Trump
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, accused Trump of a cynical ploy, arguing, “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.”