Donald Trump appeared to back off of his call last week for a government shutdown in order to defund Planned Parenthood, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday that he would “look at the good aspects” of the organization before deciding whether he would strip it of federal funds if elected president.
“The biggest problem I have with Planned Planned is the abortion situation,” Trump told Cuomo. “I mean, it’s like an abortion factory, frankly.”
“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,” Trump added.
Planned Parenthood defends the $530 million in government money it receives by claiming that the funds don’t go to helping provide abortions and instead go to other services, such as cancer screenings and contraception. But opponents argue that the funds are fungible, meaning that the federal money indirectly subsidizes the abortion side of Planned Parenthood.
The real estate billionaire seemed to avoid that particular nuance of the debate. When Cuomo asked Trump if he supports a position held by some Republican candidates to defund the organization outright, he demurred.
“I would look at the good aspects of it, and I would also look because I’m sure they do some things properly,” Trump said.
That appears to be a softer position than the one Trump took during an interview last week with talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Asked whether he thought it would be worth it to shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood, Trump said “I would.”
Trump has been dinged in the past for changing his position on abortion.
In 1999, he said on “Meet the Press” that he was “strongly for choice” on abortion, “and yet I hate the concept of abortion. I am pro-choice in every respect, but I just hate it.”
During last Thursday’s first GOP presidential debate, Trump addressed his change of heart saying that “since then, I’ve very much evolved,” adding that, “I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.”
Trump was also asked whether he supports exceptions to abortion laws for rape, incest and the health of the mother.
“I absolutely am for the exceptions,” Trump told Cuomo. “And so was Ronald Reagan for the exceptions, by the way.”