GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has clarified that he would only support Planned Parenthood receiving tax dollars if it ends what he called the "despicable practice" of abortion.
"While Planned Parenthood is engaging in the despicable practice of abortion — in addition to then selling aborted baby body parts to the highest bidder — the organization should receive no taxpayer dollars," Trump told Breitbart News in a statement on Tuesday evening.
"The liberal left wing always claims that Planned Parenthood isn't about abortion and that it's about other general areas of women's health. I am totally in favor of women's health and if they can put their money where their mouth is, and stop the abortion services at Planned Parenthood entirely, we can talk about government funding for many of the other aspects of the organization that do a lot of good," he added.
The comments sought to clarify previous remarks Trump made on the issue to CNN, when the billionaire businessman said:
"What I would do when the time came, I'd look at the individual things they do, and maybe some of the individual things they do are good. I know a lot of the things are bad. But certainly the abortion aspect of it should not be funded by government, absolutely."
Many abortion opponents expressed outrage at the remark. Lila Rose, president of pro-life group Live Action, pointed out that abortion practices make up a very significant portion of Planned Parenthood's operations, however, and said there is no excuse for suggesting the organization should receive any taxpayer money.
"Trump's vacillation on Planned Parenthood funding is deeply troubling, and reveals an ignorance about their horrific abortion practices — their killing over 320,000 children a year, and bartering to sell the body parts of those they abort," Rose said in a statement.
"It's obvious from Mr. Trump's comments that he has not watched the Planned Parenthood videos released by Center for Medical Progress. That is the only way he could recommend to continue funding this abortion conglomerate that is totally unnecessary and any organization that engages in these human rights abuses does not deserve a penny of tax payers' money. It would be better spent on health services that would save the lives of women and babies."
Trump has retained a commanding lead over all other Republican candidates, according to surveys such as a recently releases Reuters/Ipsos poll. Trump enjoyed the backing of 24 percent of Republican voters according to the poll, while his closest rival, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, only had 12 percent support.
While Trump's outspoken approach to a number of issues has earned him heavy criticism from both Republican and Democratic rivals, Reuters noted that the controversies have not had a negative effect on his presidential campaign as of yet.