President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump met in secret with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards earlier this year.
According to Politico, the first daughter and recent West Wing hire was trying to establish some common ground with the healthcare nonprofit, while Richards agreed to the meeting in an effort to make sure that Trump understands what the organization does.
“The purpose of the meeting, from Cecile’s point of view, was to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea for Planned Parenthood to be removed from being able to see Medicaid patients,” said Dawn Laguens — executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America — to Politico. “The main thing that Cecile Richards was doing was explaining that the money doesn’t actually go to abortions — we get reimbursed the same way a hospital does. We were clearing up misinformation about how this works.”
It was, Laguens said, an “explainer meeting,” one which the group found encouraging thanks to Trump’s genuine desire, she said, “to know more about the facts of Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood was the subject of a vicious smear campaign staged by anti-choice activists who used heavily edited undercover videos to accuse the healthcare provider of selling fetal organs and other parts in a nefarious black market. A California judge slammed two of the video scam’s perpetrators with a brace of felony charges last week.
Republicans in Congress have leaned heavily on the fraudulent videos in making their case to defund Planned Parenthood entirely. Conservatives oppose the organization for providing abortion services, but in fact, abortions make up only a fraction of the health services offered by Planned Parenthood.
In Texas, where the organization has been largely run out of the state by Republicans and anti-choice zealots, the maternal death rate has doubled. Texas is now one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a baby.
Politico said that Ivanka Trump has met with a number of progressive women’s groups, but that some early goodwill between feminists and the presidential daughter has already curdled.
“Since Ivanka Trump’s sit-down with Richards, what started as a cordial relationship has soured — and any effort on the part of the politically savvy first daughter to back-channel to the nonprofit has transformed into a bitter battle since Ivanka Trump assumed an official administration post,” wrote Politico’s Annie Karni.
In an interview with Gayle King from CBS, Trump said she doesn’t think it’s fair that people are accusing her of being complicit in her father’s discriminatory policies.
“I don’t know what it means to be complicit, but you know,” she said. “I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”
Laguens blasted Trump for her diffidence on the abortion issue while the presidential daughter claims to stand for women’s economic empowerment.
“You don’t get to have it both ways,” said Laguens. “You don’t get to say, I’m all for economic empowerment, and ignore that 30 percent of wage gains are directly attributable to access to birth control. You don’t get to say women should have great child care when maternity benefits are on the chopping block.”