When was the last time a Republican presidential candidate said they support Planned Parenthood? It's just not in the GOP playbook; the standard line from conservatives has been "defund Planned Parenthood" for years.
But once again, Donald Trump is tearing up that playbook, and gleefully throwing its tiny pieces into the wind.
Trump didn't just come out in support of Planned Parenthood in a one-off interview; he's done it repeatedly, both at debates and in one-on-one interviews. He's very careful to say that he is pro-life, and that he would defund Planned Parenthood entirely if it meant eliminating the abortion services the organization provides. But he also goes out of his way to say he likes what it does when it comes to other women's health issues —something very unusual for a GOP candidate.
While he does say some good things about Planned Parenthood, the organization's political arm isn’t happy about the idea of a Trump presidency.
"Women would lose access to birth control, could be charged more than men for health insurance, could have domestic violence and pregnancy disqualify them from health insurance coverage, would no longer be able to turn to Planned Parenthood for care, and would be banned from accessing abortion safely or legally,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in a statement Thursday. "In short, Donald Trump’s health care plan would be a disaster for women.”
His stance on the women's health organization makes the support he gets from evangelical voters all the more surprising. Maybe his caveats about abortion funding are enough to satisfy socially conservative Republicans, who seem not to have a problem voting for him. Maybe Trump shows that politicians can take nuanced positions if they sell it the right way.
Trump's campaign has largely been about breaking the Republican establishment's rules, and by praising Planned Parenthood even in the slightest, he's breaking those rules again.