Ivanka Trump tried to 'bribe' Planned Parenthood to stop performing abortions, claims group's ex-head

The claim is contained in a new book

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 04 April 2018 12:58 BST
The White House has not yet responded to the claims in Ms Richards' book
The White House has not yet responded to the claims in Ms Richards' book (Getty)

The former head of Planned Parenthood has claimed Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and her husband offered her women’s health group extra funding if it agreed to stop providing abortion services - an offer she said felt like “a bribe”.

Cecile Richards, who is planning on stepping down as president of the nationwide women’s health organisation later this year, has said in a book that that Ms Trump and Jared Kushner offered her an increase in federal funding for in exchange for its agreement to stop providing terminations.

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

Republican challenged for falsely claiming that Delta gives a discount to Planned Parenthood members

“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.”

In the book, excerpts of which were first obtained by People magazine, Ms Richards writes that Mr Kushner told her to “move fast” to take pup the offer. Ms Richards said she declined Mr Kushner’s offer, saying: “It felt almost like a bribe."

​Of the more than 900,000 abortions performed in the country every year, it is estimated that around a third are done at Planned Parenthood. Yet this is only a tiny part of what the group does; it also provides widespread preventative services such a breast cancer screening.

The group, which was founded in 1916 to help women, many of them from low-income backgrounds, receives $500m every year in federal funding for non-abortion services.

While Republicans often threaten to cut federal funds for the group, a huge $1.3 trillion spending bill Mr Trump signed last month, after both Republican-controlled houses of Congress passed it, did not target the organisation’s funding.

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a plan to defund the group.

“Everyone at Planned Parenthood was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” writes Mr Richards, 60, about Mr Ryan’s announcement. “We brainstormed, planned, and made lists of anyone who might be a potential ally in the administration.”

Ms Richards, whose mother is the late feminist icon Ann Richards, was urged by a “friendly acquaintance in the fashion industry” to reach out to Mr Trump’s eldest daughter for a meeting.

“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,” she said.

While she was confident about her talking points, she writes that she “begged” her husband, Kirk Adams, to join her after she learned that Ms Trump’s husband, Mr Kushner, would also be in attendance. “If nothing else, I felt I needed a witness,” she said.

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