'It Wouldn't Be Surprising' If Trump Paid For Abortions, Fox Guest Says In Planned Parenthood Debate

A debate over the Trump administration's plan to gut federal funding to Planned Parenthood went off the rails during The Ingraham Angle on Friday after a Democratic strategist said it wouldn't be surprising if the president had personally paid for abortions.

Fox News host Pete Hegseth was leading a panel composed of conservative columnist Kristin Tate and Democratic strategist Jehmu Greene when the uproar began over the proposed policy change, which, if successful, would make it more difficult for Planned Parenthood to provide abortions while still receiving federal funding.

"I think what is outrageous here is that no one would be surprised if President [Donald] Trump had personally funded multiple abortions," Greene said.

Her comment was quickly rebutted by Hegseth and Tate, who slammed Greene for floating the suggestion without providing evidence and branded the remark "irresponsible." Greene, however, pressed on with her point.

"I'm just saying no one would be surprised," Greene said, acknowledging she had no evidence to support the claim. "Would you be surprised, Pete?"

The conversation quickly devolved into a veritable shouting match, with the three guests speaking over one another. Eventually, Tate accused Democrats of smear campaigns against political opponents.

"Every time we talk about defunding planned parenthood, Jehmu and her friends on the left, they just launch these irresponsible misinformation campaigns," Tate said.

Introduced on Friday to the Office of Management and Budget, the policy change would remove Planned Parenthood from the federal family planning program, known as Title X. If passed, new rules would require medical facilities that receive the program's funds to be physically and financially separate from clinics where abortions are provided.

Because of the Hyde Amendment, federal law has long banned using federal funding to subsidize abortions, and Planned Parenthood has long separated its funding streams. However, the move would make it difficult for the women's health clinic to provide termination services and still receive crucial Title X funding to pay for birth control, STD screenings and other reproductive health services. About 40 percent of patients who receive Title X-funded care do so at a Planned Parenthood, according to the health clinic.

If successful, the proposal would be a huge coup for conservatives and Trump, who vowed to "defund Planned Parenthood" during his 2016 campaign. A coalition of more than 85 national and state pro-life groups sent a letter in early May asking Health and Human Services to block funding to the group.

"For far too long the Title X Family Planning Program has been integrated with abortion centers," the coalition wrote in the open letter. "It is time to act swiftly to disentangle abortion centers from the Title X network. Doing so would be consistent with the President's pledge and subsequent actions to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate funding to alternative providers."

Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, has vowed to fight against the proposed policy. In a statement, the service provider said the bill would be disastrous for low-income women who rely on its clinics for holistic reproductive care.

Undermining the nation's program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care would be dangerous and harmful," Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. "If Title X is blocked, many patients could be left with nowhere else to turn."

Pedestrians walk past a Planned Parenthood clinic on May 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Trump administration is expected to announce a plan for massive funding cuts to Planned Parenthood and other taxpayer-backed abortion providers by reinstating a Reagan-era rule that prohibits federal funding from going to clinics that discuss abortion with women or that share space with abortion providers. Scott Olson/Getty Images