In a bizarre and unofficial proposal, President Donald Trump told Planned Parenthood they could keep their funding if they stop performing abortions. Notably, PP does not use the more than $500 million in annual government funding they receive for abortions, and this stipulation is why their executive vice president told The New York Times that the organization rejects the deal:
Let's be clear, federal funds already do not pay for abortions. 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.
In Trump's statement confirming the unofficial deal, he reiterated the repeatedly-debunked myth that PP and other organizations use government funds to provide abortions:
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. 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.
Trump's seemingly-softened views about PP appear to stem from his daughter Ivanka's advisory role on the campaign trail, when she encouraged her father not to challenge the organization due to its importance to women's health. The language of Trump's statement to the Times reflects that softened stance, but all the same, any understanding of the organization's track record would lead one to believe that PP would refuse the impossible deal on principle.
Beyond the controversial nature of Trump's deal itself, the fact that the president chose to offer a "deal" of this nature and did so via media rather than through traditional channels of diplomacy and executive decision-making is yet another sign that this administration is like none we've ever seen. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment regarding the president's proposal process and the issue in general.
There's little evidence to suggest what may come next now that PP has rejected the president's proposal. Only time will tell whether it's an olive branch from the White House amid Republican Congressional attempts to defund PP or something else entirely. For now, it appears that this deal is off Trump's proverbial table.