Planned Parenthood Isn't Having Trump's Proposal

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According to The New York Times, President Trump has offered to support funding for Planned Parenthood, but only if the organization stops providing abortions. Planned Parenthood responded to Trump's proposal on Monday, and made clear that it has no intention of accepting it.

"Let's be clear, federal funds already do not pay for abortions," said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "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."

Trump's idea was more of an informal proposal than an official offer, the Times reports. It appears to be an attempt to square Trump's alleged support for women's health access (he spoke favorably of Planned Parenthood during the campaign) with his, and the broader Republican Party's, opposition to abortion access. In a statement to the Times, Trump suggested that what motivated his decision is an opposition to "public funding for abortion," although that makes little sense, given that federal law already prohibits this.

Although Planned Parenthood is a favorite boogeyman for abortion opponents, abortions only comprise around 3 percent of services the organization offers. Some have questioned why, if this is the case, the organization would draw such a hard line on the matter and reject Trump's proposal. The answer is that the organization cares immensely about protecting women's access to abortion, and preventing it from offering abortions would directly threaten that access.

It's true that abortions are only a small portion of Planned Parenthood's services. But that's only one side of the equation: The abortions that Planned Parenthood does provide constitute a huge percentage of overall abortions. There were a little over 664,435* legal abortions in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and 327,653 of them were performed by Planned Parenthood, according to the organization's own data. This means that about 49 percent of all legal abortions in the U.S. that year were provided by Planned Parenthood.

Were Planned Parenthood to stop offering abortion services, hundreds of thousands of low-income women would potentially be cut off from obtaining the procedure. Given how deeply the organization cares about protecting abortion access, it's no surprise that it is, in no uncertain terms, refusing Trump's demand.

*That number is an understatement, as several states didn't report abortion data to the CDC