Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told the Southern Baptist Convention today that he wasn't sure about the U.S. government allocating half a billion dollars on “women’s health issues” (video below).
Bush was asked whether or not the federal government should stop funding Planned Parenthood in light of some controversial videos that have shown employees of the health organization in conversations about providing fetal tissue for medical research.
Bush said the "next president should defund Planned Parenthood," and recalled defunding Planned Parenthood while governor of Florida.
Salon.com noted earlier this year that Bush diverted that money to pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Centers that tell women not to get abortions, and have been known to give misleading and false medical information.
The argument against this is, "Well, women’s health issues, you’re gonna be, 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, federally-sponsored community organizations 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.
The federal government is not allowed to fund abortion under the Hyde Amendment, which has been attached to government spending bills since 1976. However, Planned Parenthood does receive funding under the Title X Family Planning Program, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: "@JebBush: You are absolutely, unequivocally wrong."
Independent candidate Bernie Sanders added, "We actually need a heck of a lot more than $3 per person for women's health care, @JebBush."
Mediaite.com reports that Bush walked back his comments with a statement:
With regards to women’s health funding broadly, I misspoke, as 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.
I was referring to 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.
However, there is no proof that Planned Parenthood has actually sold organs, which is against the law. The organization has taken part in procuring fetal tissue for medical research companies and charged for those expenses, which is legal.
Bush also supports repealing Obamacare, Politico noted in March 2015, which which would take away insurance coverage for 16 million Americans, including women in need of health care.