Donald Trump suggested today that he wouldn't completely defund Planned Parenthood, but instead would "look at the good aspects" of the organization and may continue to fund those. In other words, he would likely support the status quo.
Trump's statement came in a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo, host of "New Day." In the interview, Trump stressed that his biggest problem with Planned Parenthood that it provides abortions -- he called it an "abortion factory" that has become "heavily centered on abortion." Yet when pressed by Cuomo on whether he would defund the organization entirely, Trump said he would "take a look" at other non-abortion services its provides, implying he would be open to funding those. His full statement:
"I would look at the individual things that they do, and maybe some of the things are good, and maybe, I know a lot of the things are bad. But certainly the abortion aspect of it should not be funded by government, absolutely...
I would look at the good aspects of it. I'm sure they do some things properly and good, and good for women. And I would look at that."
Trump seemed oblivious to the fact that under the Hyde Amendment, there is currently no direct federal funding that goes to abortions (except in cases of rape, incest, and to save the mother's life). Yet more disconcertingly, he also seemed unaware that each federal dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood indirectly supports and perpetuates the abortion industry. Keeping federal funds away from abortion -- on paper -- hasn't hurt the abortion industry one bit. Money is fungible, and the federal money that Planned Parenthood receives simply frees up other private funds that are put toward abortion. The Hyde Amendment has not kept the American public's hands clean of abortion in any meaningful sense, let alone helped to limit abortion at all.
Donald Trump's seeming openness to funding the "good aspects" of Planned Parenthood clashed head-on with his statement on the radio last week with Hugh Hewitt. In that interview, he said he supported the recent Republican effort to strip Planned Parenthood of all its funding.
To Trump's credit, he is adamantly against abortion, even after having been pro-choice until only a few years ago. Yet he seems to lack a basic understanding of how Planned Parenthood continues to thrive, even in spite of the Hyde Amendment (which Trump is also unaware of). It takes courage to proclaim the pro-life position on liberal networks, and hats off to him for doing that. Even still, if you don't understand the actual state of national policy on abortion, you won't be an effective pro-life leader.