In her new sboo, "Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead," Cecil Richards claims in a People magazin interview that she felt "bribed" during an off-the-record meeting with President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. Richards, who will soon leave her post as president of Planned Parenthood, claimed that Kushner offered to have the federal government continue its subsidy of the giant abortion provider if the organization would stop committing abortions.
In her book, Richards claims that her private meeting with Kushner and Ivanka Trump occured in February 2017. “If Planned Parenthood wanted to keep our federal funding, we would have to stop providing abortions,” Richards recalled. Richards claimed that she contacted Ivanka Trump through a "friendly acquaintance in the fashion industry.” She said that it became clear to her that “Jared and Ivanka were there for one reason: to deliver a political win.”
"The main issue, he [Kushner] explained, was abortion," said Richards in her memoir. "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.'"
People magazine said Richards wrote that Kushner told her to "move fast." Richards said she declined Kushner's proposal, saying that "It felt almost like a bribe."
“In their eyes, if they could stop Planned Parenthood from providing abortions, it would confirm their reputation as savvy dealmakers,” Richards wrote. “It was surreal, essentially being asked to barter away women’s rights for more money.”
Having led Planned Parenthood since 2006, Richards will step down later this year as president. The organization receives approximately $500 million annually in federal subisidies.
According to media accounts, Richards' recollection of the meeting accords with reports in March 2017 that the Trump administration had offered to continue or increase Planned Parenthood’s federal funding if it stopped performing abortions. Reportedly, Planned Parenthood rejected the deal. In April of that year, President Trump signed legislation that allowed states to direct Title X dollars, which are intended for family planning services, to federally licensed women’s health clinics that do not offer abortions. This annuled an executive order by Barack Obama that barred states from considering abortion when allocated federal money.
The spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the presidetn last month provides continued funding to Planned Parenthood.