President Trump has offered to maintain federal funding for Planned Parenthood if the group stops providing abortions. Its president has spurned the proposal and noted that federal money already is not allowed to be used for abortion.
Trump confirmed there had been discussions after The New York Times inquired about what it described as an informal proposal. In a statement to the newspaper, Trump says "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 paper reported that, in private conversations, White House officials mentioned that there could even be an increase in federal funds if Planned Parenthood stopped work related to abortions.
There is reportedly an internal struggle amongst Republicans about how to approach the abortion issue. Trump has, during the primary, mentioned what he sees as some of the positive work Planned Parenthood does.
“Millions and millions of women—cervical cancer, breast cancer—are helped by Planned Parenthood,” he said during a televised debate, according to the report. “I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.
In a response to the report of the proposal, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards says the group "will always stand for women's ability to make decisions about their health and lives, without interference from politicians."
According to their own annual report, Planned Parenthood saw 2.5 million clients in 2015, which is down from 3.1 million in 2006. While that number may seem high, it means that 98 percent of women of reproductive age will never step foot inside a Planned Parenthood in any given year for health care.
Diane Max, a big donor to Planned Parenthood, told The Times that the reported offer is an “absurd play.” Trump, she said, had been “sympathetic to a woman’s right to choose until it was politically unpopular” for him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report