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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Jeb Bush Attacks Planned Parenthood

Jeb Bush claims Planned Parenthood should not receive federal funding because “they’re not actually doing women’s health issues.” That’s simply false.

In 2013, Planned Parenthood affiliated clinics provided nearly 10.6 million services to 2.7 million women and men, including contraception, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, cancer screenings, abortions, and several other women’s health services, according to the organization’s most recent annual report.

Yet Bush said Planned Parenthood is “involved in something way different than” women’s health when answering a question at a veterans town hall event in Colorado on Aug. 25.

Bush, Aug. 25: As it relates to women’s health issues in general, when I was governor, we expanded those programs through community based organizations and that’s something I think the federal government needs to continue to do. I for one don’t think that they should, that Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though. And that’s the difference. Because they’re not actually doing women’s health issues. They’re involved in something way different than that.

Anti-abortion politicians have pushed to defund Planned Parenthood after undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about aborted fetal tissue being collected and used for research. According to Planned Parenthood figures, abortions represent 3 percent of the organization’s total services, and roughly 12 percent of its clients received an abortion.

The services its clinics provided to women and men in 2013 included:

  • 4.5 million tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
  • 3.6 million contraception related services
  • 935,573 cancer screenings including breast exams and Pap tests
  • 1.1 million pregnancy tests and prenatal services

A more detailed breakdown is available in the annual report, which also included this graphic:

Planned Parenthood graphic from its 2013-2014 annual report.


We contacted a spokeswoman for Bush’s campaign to find out why those services didn’t count as “women’s health issues,” but we didn’t receive a response.

Bush, a Republican presidential candidate, did respond to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Twitter, writing on Aug. 25: “PP treatment of unborn has been horrifying. Let’s support quality women’s health programs instead @HillaryClinton.” That was after Clinton, also on Twitter that day, wrote that “Jeb is just wrong” for saying that Planned Parenthood is “not doing women’s health issues.”

This isn’t the first time Bush has called for the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

In early August, Bush was criticized for saying, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs.” He later said that he “misspoke” on funding for women’s health broadly, and only meant to refer to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which received $528.4 million in “government health services grants & reimbursements” in 2013. That figure includes federal and state government money, however. Federal money cannot be used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

— D’Angelo Gore