WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood swiftly rejected Monday a proposal by President Donald Trump that would have pledged his support for federal funding for the women’s health organization if it ceased providing abortion services.
White House officials recently floated the idea in private conversations, a White House official said, but it was dismissed by the women’s health organization, which receives about a $500 million annually in federal funds.
Taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of reproductive health services and preventative screenings through clinics nationwide.
Trump confirmed his support for the proposal in a statement provided by the White House, noting that he is both opposed to abortion and “deeply committed to investing in women’s health.”
“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,” Trump said in a statement. “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 debate over Planned Parenthood funding could play a role in Congress’ ability to repeal and replace Obamacare, with House Republicans seeking to cut off monies and some Senate Republicans standing in opposition of such a move. Trump’s proposal may reflect an understanding of those fraught politics.
The New York Times first reported the proposal.
Many conservatives have consistently advocated defunding Planned Parenthood and during his 2016 campaign Trump said he supported the effort.
“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion — a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards tweeted in response to the proposal.
“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 longstanding effort to end women’s access to safe, legal abortion,” Richards said in a statement provided by Planned Parenthood.
Richards added that her organization is “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.”
While Trump on the campaign trail joined GOP calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its abortion services — and even said he would support a government shutdown to cut off federal funds to the group — he has also at times talked approvingly on the campaign trail about the vital women’s health services the group provides.