According to Cecile Richards, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump tried to “bribe” her to stop offering abortion procedures at Planned Parenthood in the days of President Trump’s transition from the campaign to the White House. As reported by People Magazine, Richards will claim in her forthcoming book that the president’s daughter and son-in-law paid her a visit in the late months of 2016 to see if she would put a stop to abortions in exchange for more federal funding. While that sounds like a reasonable, above-board deal to us, Richards apparently saw it as something much more sinister.
“In a riveting passage from Cecile Richards’ new memoir,” People reports, “the Planned Parenthood chief says Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were, during Donald Trump’s 2016 transition as president-elect, so eager to be recognized as shrewd political dealmakers that the soon-to-be first daughter and her husband made an offer that felt like a ‘bribe’: an increase in federal funding for Planned Parenthood in exchange for its agreement to stop providing abortions.”
In her book, Richards says that she was initially reluctant to take the meeting, but felt that it could benefit the interests of her abortion mill.
“Even if there was only a sliver of a chance of changing anyone’s mind, I owed it to Planned Parenthood patients to at least take the meeting,” Richards writes.
When meeting day arrived, however, Richards realized that Jared and Ivanka had a different agenda.
“The main issue was abortion,” Richards writes. “If Planned Parenthood wanted to keep our federal funding, we would have to stop providing abortions. He described his ideal outcome: a national headline reading ‘Planned Parenthood Discontinues Abortion Services.’
“Honestly, it felt almost like a bribe,” she told friends at the time.
How, exactly, did this feel like a “bribe” to Richards? While Republicans have been unable or unwilling to come through on their promise to stop providing federal funding to Planned Parenthood, it’s no secret that the idea was certainly floating about at the time. Jared and Ivanka were giving Richards the exact same deal that Trump had promised on the campaign trail: Give up abortions and keep your federal money. Simple. Direct. It’s not a “bribe,” it’s a deal. It’s a life preserver. Hey, unless you want this Congress and this White House to actually get serious about enforcing the Hyde Amendment, you may want to take this offer seriously.
The real story here is that Richards turned it down. She thought at the time that she would rather risk losing millions of dollars in grant money than to close up the (tiny, tiny, infinitesimal) abortion-providing part of her business. Isn’t that something.
One wonders if Jared and Ivanka had said, Hey we’ll get you another $100 million in federal funding if you stop performing free ultrasounds, if she would have been so quick to turn down the money.