In his first presidential campaign event, rapper Kanye West suggested "anyone who is pregnant" be given $1 million as a means of discouraging abortion. Speaking at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, West dubbed the policy proposal "Plan A," a reference to Plan B, a brand of emergency contraception that can prevent pregnancy when taken within a 72-hour window after sex.
"No more Plan B, Plan A," West, who announced his plans to run for president earlier this month, said. "Anyone who is pregnant, you have an option of $50,000 a year, that I will support with the organizations that I make, to take care of the child. You have the Plan A option."
West later raised that payment amount to $1 million, saying, "maximum increase would be everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars, or something like that." The rapper did not elaborate on how he would fund such a proposal. He also clarified that although he believed abortion went against God's wishes, he did not think it should be illegal just discouraged.
"My stance is not to make abortion illegal at all. It should always be legal," he said. "In 2020, abortion should be legal, but the option of maximum increase should be available."
Canadian-American gynecologist and New York Times women's health columnist Jennifer Gunter slammed West's "Plan A" proposal as offensive. "Kanye West proposing a plan of paying women for a baby as his abortion 'policy' is offensive on so many levels," Gunter tweeted.
One Twitter user pointed out that, beyond money, there are many reasons why people decide to have abortion. "Kanye West says offering women 1 million dollars to not have an abortion will stop them... there's health reasons and social issues," they tweeted.
"Can someone get a message to #KanyeWest and tell him that women don’t always choose abortion due to lack of money," another tweeted. "Women weigh up partner security and emotional/physical consequences too."
Sunday was not the first time West has spoken out about abortion. In a oftentimes rambling interview with Forbes published earlier this month, West said he was "pro-life because I'm following the word of the Bible." In that same interview, West claimed "Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the devil's work."
Planned Parenthood pushed back on West's claim, noting that barriers hindering access to high-quality and affordable health care and the criminalizing of abortion were real threats to the health of Black communities. "Any insinuation that abortion is Black genocide is offensive and infantilizing," said Nia Martin-Robinson, director of Black leadership and engagement at Planned Parenthood, according to TMZ. "The real threat to Black communities' safety, health, and lives stems from lack of access to quality, affordable health care, police violence and the criminalization of reproductive health care by anti-abortion opposition."
It seems that for West, the issue of abortion may be a personal one. Earlier at his presidential campaign rally, the rapper broke down in tears as he recalled that he and now-wife Kim Kardashian had seriously considered abortion after the reality TV star became pregnant with the couple's first child in 2012. "She said she was pregnant and for one month and two months and three months, we talked about her and I having this child," West said Sunday. "She had the pills in her hand. You know these pills, that if you take it, it's a wrap, the baby's gone." West claimed he ultimately received a message from God while working in Paris that caused him to back off advocating for an abortion.
"Even if my wife were to divorce me, after this speech, she brought North into the world, even when I didn't want to. She stood up and she protected that child," West said. "I almost killed my daughter. I almost killed my daughter."
The rapper also revealed that his father had wanted his mother to abort him. "My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me," he said. "There would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy."
A source close to Kardashian reportedly revealed to People that the reality TV star was "furious" at West for taking details of their personal life public. Despite hosting his first campaign rally in South Carolina, West is unlikely to appear on the state's presidential ballot, the Post and Courier has reported. According to the paper, South Carolina Election Commission officials confirmed Monday that West had failed to submit the required petition signatures to make it on the ballot ahead of the 2020 election.