Planned Parenthood Chief Says Kushner, Ivanka Trump Offered ‘Bribe’

Posted at 12:19 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 12:19:28-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards accused Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner of making an offer that felt like a "bribe" during a meeting back in January 2017.

Richards, who is planning on stepping down as president in 2018, reveals in her new book that the president’s daughter and son-in-law offered her an increase in federal funding for Planned Parenthood in exchange for its agreement to stop providing abortion services, according to People magazine.

"Jared and Ivanka were there for one reason: to deliver a political win," Richards writes in "Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead," which was released Tuesday, People reported. "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."

According to People, Richards recalled, "The main issue, (Kushner) explained, was abortion. If Planned Parenthood wanted to keep our federal funding, we would have to stop providing abortions."

A message left with the White House by CNN Wednesday was not immediately returned. In April 2017, when the meeting was first reported, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood told CNN the sit-down was "cordial and informative."

"The purpose of the meeting, from Planned Parenthood’s perspective, was to make sure that Ivanka Trump fully understood the important role Planned Parenthood plays in providing health care to millions of people and why it would be a disastrous idea to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood," the spokeswoman said at the time.

Richards writes in her book that after her meeting with Trump and Kushner, she told the organization’s executive vice president Dawn Laguens that the deal "felt almost like a bribe," People reported.

The Planned Parenthood leader, who was a Hillary Clinton supporter in the 2016 election, wrote that she met with Trump and Kushner because "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," according to People.

The bulk of federal money Planned Parenthood receives goes toward preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests and other women’s health services. Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.

But President Donald Trump signed a bill in April 2017 that allowed states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood, which has been frequently targeted by Republicans.

Planned Parenthood claims to be the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, offering sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach to nearly 5 million women, men and adolescents annually worldwide. Planned Parenthood says abortions make up 3% of its provided services.