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Trump Tells Planned Parenthood They Can Keep Their Funding If They Stop Providing Abortions

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The defunding of Planned Parenthood has long been a go-to threat for Republican lawmakers. And now the White House has offered an informal deal to the women’s health organization that’s as insulting as it is implausible: Get rid of abortion services and you can keep your money.

As you might have guessed, that deal was summarily rejected.

Moreover, according to the New York Times, “in private discussions with people close to Planned Parenthood, White House officials have at times suggested that there could even be an increase in federal earmarks if the work related to abortion ends.”

To start with, federal funding and taxpayer dollars do not go towards abortion services. Ever. It feels like we’ve been over this enough times to warrant a Groundhog’s Day sequel, but apparently we still need to be reminding not just regular people, but the president and his staff.

Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, told the NYT they won’t be held hostage by this agenda-pushing administration.

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.

We’ve talked before about how “defunding” is a misnomer, because Planned Parenthood doesn’t get funds directly, but rather receives reimbursements through through Medicaid and planning programs. And again, they don’t get reimbursed for abortion services. Which, also again, only amounts to 3% of the services they provide. So Trump’s ultimatum isn’t about government funding at all. It’s about limiting women’s choices and access to health care.

And let’s not forget, that’s what abortion is.

Yes, access to safe abortions is a legal, constitutionally-sanctioned human right. And Republican politicians are using that right as a bargaining chip. Trump himself was “very pro-choice” he had to switch tracks to appeal to right-leaning voters, playing political games with women’s health.

As the NYT points out, that changed during the debates.

“Millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood,” Mr. Trump said in February 2016 at a debate hosted by CNN in Texas. “I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.”

3% of services. No federal funding. A constitutional human right. What did Trump think the response to this offer was going to be? Sadly, it doesn’t sound like he could have thought this would go differently. More likely, this was an empty offer, made only to later be pointed at as a sign of Planned Parenthood’s unwillingness to cooperate.

(via NYT, image via Shutterstock)

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