The Trump administration floated an interesting proposal on Monday night concerning the controversial federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which provides around 327,600 abortions annually. Rather than taking away the organization’s $500 million in federal funds, the administration offered Planned Parenthood the chance to keep their funding in the new GOP healthcare replacement bill, on one condition — that they stop performing abortions.
Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion—a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings. https://t.co/TWGOcVjBJ4
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) March 6, 2017
While Richard’s answer should come as no surprise to anyone on either side of the abortion debate, it is interesting to note the stark contrast from her previous rhetoric.
Only two years ago, in 2015, as the debate over defunding Planned Parenthood was just heating up, the argument coming from Richards and her allies was seemingly the exact opposite. Planned Parenthood proclaimed proudly that abortions only made up 3 percent of the services they offered, while the other 97 percent were other important health services for women, such as birth control and health screenings. In almost every media venue, Planned Parenthood rigorously pushed the rhetoric that abortion was not their central focus and made an elaborate effort to deflect attention from it.
And while President Obama eventually vetoed the defund bill, the debate did not lose its fuel, and continued to be a hot-button issue throughout the most recent election cycle. During the campaign, and even immediately after Trump’s victory, the organization’s messaging still emphasized a similar point — that Planned Parenthood is focused on women’s health and helping women, not abortion. This led directly to President Trump’s sensible offer: stop doing abortions, keep your funding.
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The rejection of the president’s proposal and instantaneous change in rhetoric are ironic. How could Planned Parenthood turn down federal funding they so desperately need in order to continue what amounts to only 3 percent of all services they offer? Why would they risk having to scale back other health services to women in order to save this small part of their business?
The reason, of course, is because abortion represents no small part of Planned Parenthood’s total revenues. In fact, the organization takes in around $492 million annually from performing abortions, based on the numbers released in their 2014 report. The truth is that Planned Parenthood is inextricably tied to abortion, as their recent rejection of the Trump administration’s offer makes clear. Congress would be well served to finally cut funds to this abortion giant and reallocate them to the thousands of other community health centers nationwide which better serve women.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0