Donald Trump has suggested he could support continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood -- a position that puts him at odds with every other Republican presidential candidate and virtually every Republican in Congress.
In an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day" on Tuesday, Trump said, "the biggest problem I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation,” he said. “It's like an abortion factory. You can't have it and you shouldn't be funding it and that should not be funded by the government.”
But he continued by saying he wouldn't necessarily defund the organization.
“If the time came, 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,” Trump said. “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 and good for women.”
Title X, a federal program that helps fund Planned Parenthood, cannot be used to cover abortion services. But Trump’s position puts him at odds with all of his major GOP rivals, who have pounced on recent undercover videos to renew their calls for ending all federal funding for the organization.
And he hasn't been spared criticisms -- or thanked -- for his more neutral stance on Planned Parenthood.
David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, issued a statement saying Trump "simply must be clear about his position on taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood if he expects to be taken seriously by conservative voters." Referring to Trump's assertion that the organization does some good, Bozell stated, "There’s nothing good about an organization that mutilates and sells the body parts of aborted babies. Defund it completely, now, and open an immediate congressional investigation."
Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said Trump's "vacillation on Planned Parenthood funding is deeply troubling," and went as far as to challenge Trump to watch the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that reportedly show a Planned Parenthood executive discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.
Planned Parenthood hasn't exactly thanked Trump for his comments. In a statement to ABC News, Eric Ferrero, the vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, "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."
Ferrero added that the positions of leading Republican presidential candidates to ban abortion, defund Planned Parenthood's preventive services and make birth control less affordable "are deeply unpopular with American voters, who know the devastating impact they would have on women across the country."
But compared to other members of the GOP field, Trump’s comments come off a show of support for the organization.
Carly Fiorina went as far as to say she would shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Honestly, if it came to that I would,” Fiorina told CBN’s David Brody. “If we are not prepared to stand up and fight over this, what are we prepared to stand up and fight over?”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dismissed the idea that voting to defund Planned Parenthood is a “game changer,” and instead called for the government to invoke the Constitutional rights of unborn children.
“A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood as if that's a huge game changer,” Huckabee said at the first Republican presidential debate last week. “I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the 5th and 14th Amendment to the Constitution.”
Huckabee doubled-down on the constitutionality of abortion with Fox’s Chris Wallace.
“I think the president should move, not so much on his own, he should move on the Constitution,” Huckabee said.
And while Jeb Bush’s statement that “the next president should defund Planned Parenthood” falls in line with the rest of the Republican field, his comments about funding for women’s health earned him scorn from Democrats and Trump alike.
“You could take dollar for dollar -- although I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues -- but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine community health organizations that exist to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues,” Bush said in an interview at the Southern Baptist Forum this month.
When asked if he owes women an apology following his “blood” comments about Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Trump turned the conversation to Bush.
“No, I think Jeb Bush owes women an apology,” Trump said. “He made a terrible statement about women's health issues. It was a foolish statement, perhaps a stupid statement. It's a statement that should never have come up and should never have been made and I was shocked that he made it.”
And when it comes to women, Trump said he cherishes them.
“I will be so good to women,” Trump stated. “I cherish women. I will work hard to protect women.”