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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly tried to “bribe” Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards with increased federal funding—if the healthcare provider stopped providing abortion services altogether.
The conversation—disclosed by Richards in her latest book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, released on Tuesday and reported on by People—occurred in January 2017 prior to President Donald Trump‘s inauguration.
Three months after the meeting, Planned Parenthood released a statement disclosing the event, stating the meeting’s purpose was to make sure Trump understood Planned Parenthood’s role in healthcare, as well as “why it would be a disastrous idea to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.” However, in a passage of her book, Richards wrote she was encouraged to meet with Kushner and Trump by a friend, in hopes of at least making a “potential ally” in the Trump administration.
Upon meeting the couple with her husband Kirk Adams, however, Richards wrote that Kushner told her that Planned Parenthood “made a big mistake by becoming ‘political.'” He then told her if the organization wanted to continue to receive federal funding, it would have to stop providing abortions, and that she would have to “move fast” if she wanted increased funding.
Richards characterized the meeting as Kushner and Trump’s effort to “deliver a political win” and “confirm their reputation as savvy dealmakers.”
“It was surreal, essentially being asked to barter away women’s rights for more money. It takes a lot to get Kirk mad, but it looked like his head was about to explode,” she wrote. Richards wrote she remembered telling Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president Dawn Laguens it “felt almost like a bribe.”
“I know there are people who will disagree with me, and maybe I shouldn’t have just shut down the conversation, but I did what I thought was best,” she wrote.
Since the 2017 meeting, Richards has publicly criticized Ivanka Trump for failing to speak up in regards to her father’s and his party’s continued efforts to federally defund Planned Parenthood—and therefore, restrict women and men from lower-income communities from receiving low-cost healthcare and sexual health services. Richards announced in January that she’s stepping down as Planned Parenthood president and CEO this year. The White House did not return CNBC’s request for comment.
“‘Our mission is to care for women who need us, and that means caring for all of their reproductive needs—including safe and legal abortion,'” Richards recalled telling the Kushner and Trump, according to her book.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.