The One Reason Trump's Planned Parenthood Claims Don't Make Any Sense

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On Monday, the New York Times reported that President Trump made Planned Parenthood an offer: If the organization stops offering abortions, he'll support federal funding for it. Trump offered a rationale for his position, citing opposition to public funding for abortion. That's all well and good in the minds of Republicans — except for the one reason Trump's Planned Parenthood claims don't make any sense at all.

“As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services such as cancer screenings,” Trump told the Times in a statement. “Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”

Here's the thing: Regardless of what happens with Planned Parenthood funding, there already isn't any public funding for abortion — and barring an act of Congress, there never will be. This is because of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits any taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. The Hyde Amendment is already the law of the land, and has been for the last 20 years. As long as that's the case, there will be no public funding of abortions. Period.

Planned Parenthood receives around $528 million in federal funds per year, funding that the latest Republican health care proposal would eliminate altogether. However, that money does not fund the organization's abortion services; it funds the other 97 percent of services the organization provides, largely in the form of Medicaid reimbursements.

Trump's statement implies that Planned Parenthood has to choose between "providing abortion services" and "continu[ing] the important work they do in support of women's health." But this is a false choice that doesn't need to be made. Planned Parenthood can easily do both of those things without spending a single penny of taxpayer money on abortions.

In any event, Trump's misleading claims about public funding for abortions may be a moot point. For one, it's not at all clear that the Republican bill to defund Planned Parenthood will actually pass Congress, given the massive divisions in the GOP over health care policy. And more importantly, Planned Parenthood immediately rejected the offer outright, saying in a statement that accepting money "to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal we will ever accept."