Donald Trump said Tuesday he would “look at the good aspects” of Planned Parenthood before defunding the organization entirely, one week after he said he would shut down the government to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.
“I would look at the good aspects of it and I would also look because I’m sure they do some things properly and good, good for women, and I would look at that,” Trump said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day” when asked if he would first look at the full gamut of Planned Parenthood services before defunding the organization.
Trump was more unequivocal last week in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, saying the organization should “absolutely” lose all federal funding. Trump did stick to his position that the “abortion aspect of Planned Parenthood should not – absolutely should not – be funded.”
A Trump spokeswoman declined to comment on the record on whether Trump’s position had changed. But Trump’s appearance later on Tuesday on Fox News made it clear he supported keeping some aspects of Planned Parenthood alive and funded.
“They do good things,” Trump said in his interview with Sean Hannity. “There’s two Planned Parenthoods in a way.”
But federal law already prohibits the federal government from funding abortion services, and Planned Parenthood does not pay for its abortion services using federal funds. Conservatives are now calling for the organization to be entirely stripped of federal dollars.
Trump’s comments drew praise from Planned Parenthood, which said in a statement that the rest of the GOP field should follow his lead.
“Donald Trump seems to have realized that banning all abortions, shutting down the government, and defunding Planned Parenthood are extreme positions that are way too far outside the mainstream for even him to take,” Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications, Eric Ferrero, said in a statement.
“We hope that the rest of the GOP field will wake up and reconsider their extreme and unpopular positions on defunding preventive care, abortion bans, and the other economic issues that women and their families care about.”
Trump drew heat from some anti-abortion leaders like Lila Rose, president of Live Action, and Brent Bozell, the president of ForAmerica, who has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Bozell said in a statement that Trump’s “ambiguous position gives voters pause.”
“It must be made crystal clear by every candidate in the GOP field that Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer-funded lifelines provided by the federal government must be cut off,” Bozell said. “Defund it completely, now, and open an immediate congressional investigation.”
Trump, who opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in danger, has repeatedly slammed the organization’s abortion practices since an anti-abortion group released undercover footage of Planned Parenthood officials coolly discussing the sale of fetal tissue and organs for medical research.
The sale of fetal tissues and organs for profit is illegal under federal law, though it’s not clear that is what the Planned Parenthood officials were discussing.
“I would look at the individual things that they do and maybe some of the things are good,” Trump said. “We have to take care of women. We have to absolutely take care of women. The abortion aspect of Planned Parenthood should not – absolutely should not – be funded.”