Planned Parenthood rejected an offer on Monday from President Donald Trump to continue receiving federal funding under the condition that it agrees to stop providing abortion services. Trump made the offer informally, reportedly concerned by the potential political ramifications of the party’s efforts to defund the women’s health care provider. In a statement to The New York Times on Monday, Trump said, “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 went continued, adding, “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 organization currently receives $500 million annually in federal funding, but that money is not used to pay for abortions. Instead those funds go toward the provision of services including cancer screenings and birth control.
“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, said to The 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.”
Trump has faced criticism over his repeatedly changing views on abortion rights, which until 2011 he vocally supported. Even on the campaign trail he veered from supporting calls to defund Planned Parenthood, to defending the organization’s work. Diane Max, a major donor to Planned Parenthood, referred to Monday’s offer as an “absurd play” when speaking to the Times. She said Trump had been “sympathetic to a woman’s right to choose until it was politically unpopular” for him.
In response to Donald Trump’s offer, Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, tweeted, “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion — a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.”
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