The feds spend just $3 per woman per year on women’s health, but to Jeb Bush, that’s too much.
Since heavily edited, misleading Planned Parenthood videos started being released a couple of weeks ago, the war on women has greatly intensified. On Monday, Democrats stopped the GOP from completely defunding Planned Parenthood and today Jeb Bush spoke out against the organization and women’s health. Speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate and former Florida governor, promised to keep the war going.
Bush told a group of Evangelical Christians that he would strip the vital health organization of federal funding if he becomes president and said we spend too much money on women’s health services:
“The next president should defund Planned Parenthood,” he said. “The argument against this is, well women’s health issues, you’re attacking, it’s a war on women, and you’re attacking women’s health issues. You could take dollar for dollar, although I’m not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health issues, but if you took dollar for dollar there are many extraordinary fine organizations, community health organizations, that exist to provide quality care for women on wide variety of health issues. But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government, in my mind.”
First of all, $500 million per year in a nation with 165 million women really isn’t much, not when you consider the specialized health needs that women required. Secondly, Planned Parenthood services more five million men and women a year. They provide quality reproductive healthcare and education to millions of people who might not otherwise have access to it. Only 3 percent of their services are abortion related, with the vast majority of it going towards contraceptives, STI treatment screenings and a host of other services.
Republicans have been trying to defund the organization for years because they claim to be “pro-life.” The reality is that if they succeeded in stripping the non-profit of funding, they would leave millions of people without reproductive health services and would likely increase abortions. As usual, the GOP has not applied common sense to their destructive policies.
Furthermore, Bush claims that he doesn’t believe that federal funding should ever pay for abortion services; they don’t, because just like “selling baby parts” is illegal, so is federally funded abortions. According to the Hyde Amendment, federal funds cannot pay for abortions unless the abortion is a result of rape, incest or continuing the pregnancy would kill the mother. This has been the law for roughly four decades.
Jeb Bush was absolutely disastrous for women’s rights when he was governor of Florida. He brags about refusing to give Planned Parenthood state funds when he was in office. He also wasted money on pro-life billboards and approved “Choose Life” license plates with the money from the plates going towards counseling for women who were giving their children up for adoption, while excluding counseling for women who seek abortions.
Bush released a statement that said he “misspoke” at the conference, soon after social media lit up with criticism:
“With regards to women’s health funding broadly, I believe there are countless community health centers, rural clinics, and other women’s health organizations that need to be fully funded. They provide critical services to all, but particularly low-income women who don’t have the access they need.
“The point I was making was that we must address the hard-to-fathom $500 million in federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood – an organization that was callously participating in the unthinkable practice of selling fetal organs. Democrats and Republicans agree we absolutely must defund them and redirect those funds to other women’s health organizations.”
His clarification wasn’t much better than his original statement and he continued to perpetuate the “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts” myth (in reality, Planned Parenthood only facilitates the donation of fetal tissues for medical research, with the woman’s permission, and never at a profit.) The harsh reality is, many towns do not have “other women’s health organizations” and even if they did, Planned Parenthood should not be stripped of funding because they have done nothing wrong.
Hillary Clinton took to Twitter and slammed Bush after his statements, saying he was wrong:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 4, 2015
Hillary is absolutely right. Jeb Bush couldn’t be more wrong about Planned Parenthood and he deserved to be taken to task. The GOP has spent far too long trying to impose their misguided beliefs about women’s health on us. They have been waging a war on women for years and if Jeb ever makes it to the White House, he has made it clear that he will continue that war. Women need a president who is going to protect their rights — and Bush is not that president.
Watch Bush speak below:
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.