Like the rest of the GOP presidential contenders thus far, Ben Carson is too extreme for the American public when it comes to his positions on women’s health: comparing abortion to “slavery” and claiming the birth control benefit — which requires insurance coverage of birth control — is symptomatic of an “entitlement society.” What’s clear is these positions are deeply out of touch.

  • Nearly 80 percent of the American public wants to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal; and three in 10 women have had a safe, legal abortion at some point in their lifetimes.
  • Sixty-eight percent of women voters say that politicians who support the Hobby Lobby decision, like Ben Carson, are out of touch with them and their everyday lives.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“If Ben Carson doesn’t trust women to make their own health care decisions, then women can’t trust Ben Carson to be president. His comments are deeply insulting and out of touch and his agenda is clear: He opposes abortion while at the same time wanting to take away a woman’s ability to access affordable birth control, the very thing that can prevent pregnancy in the first place.

“At Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we’re focused on helping women and their families succeed — and that means holding candidates like Ben Carson and the rest of the GOP contenders thus far accountable for their extreme records and agendas on women’s health and rights.”

Ben Carson has advocated for:

  • Banning safe and legal abortion and going so far as to compare abortion to “slavery.”
  • Allowing for-profit businesses like Hobby Lobby to deny their employees access to birth control.
  • Overturning the Affordable Care Act and it’s advancements for women.
  • Eliminating Medicaid and Medicare, which would have a disproportionate impact on women, specifically women of color and low-income women already struggling to make ends meet.

In Ben Carson’s own words:

  • Appearing on DoveTV, a Christian television station, Ben Carson compared abortion to human sacrifice: While talking about “correcting” the issue of abortion he said, "It's interesting that we sit around and call other ancient civilizations 'heathen' because of human sacrifice, but aren't we actually guilty of the same thing?" [Right Wing Watch, 7/1/14]
  • When Carson talked about his pro-life position at the Maryland Right to Life Banquet in 2012 he compared abortion to “slavery” and people who are pro-life as “abolitionists”: “[T]hose are the kinds of things that, that really led me to being a pro-life individual. Because I wasn’t always.... that is until I started thinking about a particular episode in the history of this nation, called slavery. And of course the slave owners felt that they should be able to do whatever they wanted to. And there were some people who were not slave owners who said ‘uhh you can do what you want to do, but I don’t, I think it’s unethical, I wouldn’t do it.’ And then there were the abolitionists who said not only will they not do it, but it is such an evil that they want to make sure that it is rooted out of our nation. And uh, I started seeing the similarities there.”  [YouTube, 5/11/12]
  • Carson believes that the government should stay out of people’s personal health care decisions, except when it comes to controlling a woman’s right to have an abortion:  In 2013, Carson told the audience at the Values Voter Summit that your health “is the most valuable thing that you have” and went on to say, “and that’s the reason that your health should be controlled by you and not by the government. But when we’re talking about things that are important, life is important. And that includes the life of the unborn.” [YouTube, 10/11/13]
  • Cason has said that women need to be “re-educated” on the issue of abortion so that they become more pro-life:  “What we need to do is re-educate the women to understand that they are the defenders of these babies.” [YouTube, 10/11/13]
  • Carson opposes the Affordable Care Act and compared it to slavery: "Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is – in a way, it is slavery." [CNN.com, 10/11/13]
  • Carson supported the Hobby Lobby ruling, calling it “fortunate” and in an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Carson called the birth control benefit symptomatic of an “entitlement society.” [The Washington Times, 7/8/14]

Impact on Michigan women:

  • In 2012, 644,190 women in Michigan were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies and thanks to the birth control benefit 1,610,000 now have access without a copay.
  • In 2010, the publicly funded family planning services, including affordable birth control, provided at health care providers like Planned Parenthood, helped save $212,448,000 in public funds in Michigan.
  • In 2010, 93,000 Michigan residents had an unintended pregnancy; and in the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 32 percent higher in Michigan, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 41 percent higher.

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

You can view the Action Fund’s statement welcoming Hillary Rodham Clinton to the presidential field here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood media line at [email protected].