The Ivanka Way

Ivanka Trump made an offer to Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. The first daughter had pressed her father to say positive things about Planned Parenthood during the 2016 campaign, and now she had a proposal for the organization’s leader: What if Planned Parenthood split up, creating a small operation that ran abortion clinics and a larger one whose health clinics didn’t perform abortions? Then her father would call for increasing funding to the larger operation, instead of joining with congressional Republicans in their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood entirely.

.. It was indeed implausible to imagine that Richards would seriously consider Ivanka’s proposal. But as a political idea, a way of rethinking the whole Planned Parenthood debate, it reminded me of Ivanka’s father’s 2016 approach to many questions — the Trumpian habit of ignoring the ideological assumptions around an issue, and groping toward views that more Americans might be likely to support.

.. It implies that Richards’ organization performs, say, a few thousand abortions for high-risk pregnancies and rape victims annually, instead of the real number, which last year was 328,348 — dwarfing the number of prenatal care visits by a factor of more than 30.

.. Republicans often imply they would happily support Planned Parenthood if the organization wasn’t the nation’s largest abortion business. But this is misleading as well: Many religious conservatives would still object to funding contraceptives, and many small-government conservatives would oppose public health care spending, period.

.. So a politician who proposed to fund a large network of women’s health centers that offered contraceptives, H.I.V. tests, mammograms, prenatal care and adoption referrals, but absolutely no abortions, would run afoul of both the liberal commitment to abortion-as-a-positive-good and various conservative positions.