Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards says that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner tried to establish themselves as political dealmakers during the Trump transition team by making Planned Parenthood an offer if they stopped providing abortions. In her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards said the hope that the organization could make inroads with the Trump administration through Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner was quickly dashed when the two drew a line in the sand with abortion.
Richards Says That Kushner And Trump Wanted Planned Parenthood To Stop Offering Abortion
Cecile Richards said that Planned Parenthood was eager to find a friend in the Trump administration in Kushner and Trump after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his intentions to defund Planned Parenthood, says People. Richards says she was “leery” of taking a meeting with Ivanka Trump and asked her husband, Kirk Adams, to come along as soon as she heard that Jared Kushner would be attending the meeting along with his wife, Ivanka Trump.
“If nothing else, I felt I needed a witness.”
Richards says that at the beginning of the meeting, the two couples talked about their families before discussing the role of Planned Parenthood, and she wanted to make it clear that the organization offers a variety of services.
“[The role of the meeting with Trump and Kushner] 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.”
But Richards says that Kushner told her that Planned Parenthood should not have mixed with politics.
“[Kushner said Planned Parenthood] had made a big mistake by becoming ‘political.’ “
Kushner And Trump Thought Planned Parenthood Should Stay Out Of Politics
Richards said that Jared Kushner did the talking, explaining to her that if Planned Parenthood continued providing abortions, funding would be a problem with the Trump administration.
“The main issue, [Kushner] explained, was abortion. 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.'”
Kushner explained that if Cecile Richards agreed to the plan, then funding could be increased by the Trump administration, but she needed to “move fast.”
Richards says that she was being asked to make a deal by giving away a woman’s right to choose for funding for other services.
“Honestly, it felt almost like a bribe. I know there are people who will disagree with me, and maybe I shouldn’t have just shut down the conversation, but I did what I thought was best.”
Richards explained to Kushner and Trump that there was no way she could make that deal, but on their way out, Kushner reminded her that the clock was ticking on the “deal.”
“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.”
Richards Said She Felt Like Kushner And Trump Were Trying To Bribe Her
Bustle says that when the news broke that Planned Parenthood had met with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the organization released a statement saying that their purpose behind the meeting was to enlighten the new Trump administration about Planned Parenthood’s role in guaranteeing women’s health. Richards said that any hope she had that Ivanka Trump would be an advocate was soon dashed.
“At the time, [… Ivanka] sounded like she was sympathetic, but I will tell you this [Trump] White House has been worse for women than any administration I’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s been very, very disappointing.”
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner did not comment on the meeting with Richards.