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Politics & Policy

How Central

In their interesting profile of Ivanka Trump in today’s New York Times, Jodi Kantor, Rachel Abrams, and Maggie Haberman write this:

During the campaign, Ms. Trump successfully pushed her father to praise Planned Parenthood from a Republican debate stage, a moment that created a stir at the time because of the party’s broad opposition to the organization’s abortion services. But more recently, with congressional Republicans threatening to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood (even though the women’s health organization says it receives no federal funding for abortions), Ms. Trump approached its president, Cecile Richards, to start a broader dialogue. She also had a proposal: Planned Parenthood should split in two, Ms. Trump suggested, with a smaller arm to provide abortions and a larger one devoted to women’s health services.

White House officials said Ms. Trump was trying to find a common-sense solution amid the roar of abortion politics. But Planned Parenthood officials said they thought Ms. Trump’s advice was naïve, failing to understand how central reproductive choice was to the group’s mission. Ms. Richards sharply criticized Ms. Trump for not publicly objecting to the Republican health care bill that failed in March, and Ms. Trump felt stung.

In other words, Planned Parenthood officials confirmed to the Times what all those who want to stop federal funding to the organization have long asserted: that abortion is essential to all that Planned Parenthood is and does, and that having taxpayer funding account for more than a third of Planned Parenthood’s revenues each year means having taxpayers support the practice of abortion. 

It does seem naïve to propose that Planned Parenthood formally separate its abortion provision from anything else it does. But it is only as naïve as believing the public arguments of Planned Parenthood and its defenders in the funding debate. Just ask “Planned Parenthood officials.” 

Yuval Levin — Yuval Levin is the editor of National Affairs and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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