Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards urged Ivanka Trump on Friday to step into the debate over the Republican health care bill.
The president's daughter's silence on the way the legislation would affect women has been "deafening," she said, and that "it's time for Ivanka to ... stand for women."
Ivanka is currently on a ski vacation with her family in Aspen. The bill, which would remove federal requirements to provide services like maternity care, and would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood, is scheduled to go for a vote later Friday.
Richards also targeted members of congress, and female Republicans in particular, with her remarks.
"Any woman who votes for this bill is betraying every woman in America," she said. "Women will not just lose their healthcare, but lose their lives over this bill."
Richards comments came during a BuzzFeed News interview with Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith.
And in response to a tweet from President Donald Trump on Friday morning, Richards called the health care bill "the most anti-woman bill that I have ever seen."
"It’s wildly unpopular," Richards said. "This is going to be a catastrophe for women in this country," she said, especially those who are underprivileged.
She also said her group may go to court if it becomes law.
The health care bill that's scheduled to come up for a crucial vote in the House today — though it's unclear when — includes a provision to remove all federal funding from the women's health non-profit. Currently, no federal funds are permitted to be used on abortions — they go toward reimbursing Planned Parenthood for covering other services under Medicaid, like STI tests and cancer screenings.
It's unclear if the bill — which would repeal and replace President Obama's Affordable Care Act — has the votes to pass, as several far-right and moderate members say they will oppose the bill.
"It’s pretty clear they would do anything to pass this disastrous plan...to see the photographs of the Freedom Caucus, this supposedly pro-family group literally bargaining away the rights to maternity care benefits, birth control benefits," Richards said.
President Trump's tweet on Friday morning used the Planned Parenthood defunding as a wedge to get holdouts from the Freedom Caucus — several staunchly conservative representatives who widely oppose the bill — to embrace it.
"The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!" Trump tweeted.
Richards added that the widely-publicized "deal" Trump supposedly proposed to Planned Parenthood — giving them more money if they stopped providing abortions — was "not a deal" at all, she said.
"There was no deal," she said, adding that she never spoke directly with the President but just read about him saying that in the New York Times, like everyone else.
"We would never betray women and abandon that care," Richards said. "It was clearly an attempt to divide people [supporting] Planned Parenthood," she said, but emphasized that it did not work.
And when asked if she thinks the abortion rate will increase if the bill passes, she said, “It has every other time and every other place” in countries where abortion was made unavailable.
Ema O'Connor is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ema O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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