Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards revealed a stunning piece of information in her new memoir that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were so desperate to appear politically shrewd during Trump’s 2016 transition, they offered her what felt like a “bribe”: increased funding for PP if they agreed to stop offering abortion services, People magazine is reporting.
In her book. Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, Richards writes she was skeptical about taking the meeting with the couple but that she was open to finding allies in the Trump administration.
Planned Parenthood has been a target of Republicans for some time, and the GOP has made repeated efforts to defund the popular organization. In fact, just after Trump was elected, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced intentions to not only to repeal Obamacare but that the GOP wanted to also defund Planned Parenthood. Their attempts have failed, but they continue to denounce abortion and paint PP in a negative light.
Richards wrote about the Speaker’s announcement: “Everyone at Planned Parenthood was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We brainstormed, planned, and made lists of anyone who might be a potential ally in the administration.”
A friend of Richards’ in the fashion industry encouraged her to reach out to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, so they could meet and discuss alternative solutions, “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 explains.
Though Richards felt confident she could handle the meeting on her own, she wrote that she pleaded with her husband, Kirk Adams, to join her when she learned Ivanka’s husband would also be in attendance — because she wanted a witness to whatever would be discussed.
The intention of the meeting, Richards explained, was to convey the importance of PP’s services to millions of Americans “and why it would be a disastrous idea to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.”
Kushner told her PP “had made a big mistake by becoming ‘political.’”
“The main issue, Kushner said, 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.’”
Richards writes, “If it wasn’t crystal clear before, it was now. Jared and Ivanka were there for one reason: to deliver a political win. In their eyes, if they could stop Planned Parenthood from providing abortions, it would confirm their reputation as savvy dealmakers. It was surreal, essentially being asked to barter away women’s rights for more money. It takes a lot to get Kirk mad, but it looked like his head was about to explode.”
She said there was “no way” Kushner’s proposal would work and that PP would continue to fight for funding.
“Our mission is to care for women who need us, and that means caring for all of their reproductive needs — including safe and legal abortion,” she remembers saying. When the meeting came to a close, she added that Kushner “reminded us that things were moving ‘really fast.’” And he went on to say that a deal had to be made quickly.