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TO: Interested Parties
RE: GOP Presidential Candidates’ Losing Battle Over Women’s Health


Despite threats of a Presidential veto, strong opposition by a majority of American voters, and, just an hour ago, a losing vote in the U.S. Senate, tonight, at C-Span’s Voters First Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidates are continuing their nonsensical attacks against Planned Parenthood and women’s health care.

Though nearly the entire GOP 2016 field has a dismal record of supporting women’s access to health care, recently attacks have veered into the ridiculous --- with multiple candidates standing behind a group of extremists with deep ties to the most violent wing of the anti-abortion movement, Senator Cruz threatening to shut down the federal government unless he gets his way and blocks millions of Americans from accessing basic health care, and Mike Huckabee saying he would send armed guards in to prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion.

Unfortunately for the GOP candidates, American voters have no appetite to watch extremists fight to deny health care, including birth control, to millions of women.Two national pollshave now showed that the majority of American voters strongly oppose attacks on Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care it provides --- witha new Wall Street Journal/NBC national poll released tonight showing that voters rate Planned Parenthood most favorably: above both political parties, the NRA, Supreme Court, and all leading 2016 presidential candidates.

A few highlights of the candidate’ history of attacking women’s reproductive health rights:

(candidates are listed in alphabetical order)

Gov. Jeb Bushon women’s health and rights:

  • Bush has a long history of opposing safe and legal abortion and has signed at least SIX anti-abortion laws into law. In 2003, he declared himself “the most pro-life governor in modern times” in Florida. [Huffington Post, 3/25/15; Associated Press, 10/24/03]

  • In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, Bush’s home state of Florida is tied for last place for women’s health.

  • As governor, Bush advocated for and signed restrictions targeting abortion providers with provisions like building requirements that have nothing to do with health care and are actually an attempt to limit access to abortion.  The Tampa Bay Timeswrote “they are rules clearly written by bureaucrats, not health professionals” in an editorial about the bill. Bush said that he signed the bill, “gladly, with pride and conviction," because he was motivated to “create a culture of life in our state.” [Tampa Bay Times, 4/19/05]

Dr. Ben Carson on women’s health and rights:

  • Carson has said he would eliminate Medicaid and Medicare. [The New York Times, 3/20/13]

  • 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 believes that the government should stay out of a person’s personal healthcare 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 be 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 (1:40)]

  • Dr. Carson 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 (3:38)]

Gov. Chris Christieon women’s health and rights:

  • Chris Christie celebrates his record of vetoing of $7.5 million a year that would go to family planning organizations such as Planned Parenthood: Christie has made an annual action of vetoing $7.5 million included in the New Jersey state budget to go toward family planning organizations. His repeated denial of every effort by the state legislature to restore the funding has led to the closure of family planning centers.  [Associated Press, 6/30/14;nj.com, 2/26/15]

  • Christie opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the woman: On NBC’s Meet the Press, Christie laid out his opposition to abortion, saying, “I am pro-life...that’s my position, take it or leave it.” Christie has reiterated his commitment to groups that aim to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion. [Meet the Press, 6/26/11, Associated Press, 1/24/11]

  • Chris Christie thinks bosses and politicians should decide whether women get access to affordable birth control: Following the extremely unpopular Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision last June. Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage, to which he said, “No.” [POLITICO, 7/13/14]

Sen. Ted Cruz on women’s health and rights:

  • Wants to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Cruz would allow abortion only in cases in which the mother’s life is in jeopardy: ‘Every human life is a precious gift from God and should be protected in law from conception until natural death.’” [Houston Chronicle, 10/28/12]

  • Cruz believes that birth control is an “abortion-inducing drug”: Despite medical evidence to the contrary,at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, Cruz told the crowd that the Obama administration is forcing religious organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor to provide "abortion inducing drugs" as part of the birth control benefit. [Salon, 9/26/14]

  • Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare led to the government shutdown in 2013: Senator Cruz led a 21 hour filibuster against the Affordable Care Act, during which he shamed his fellow Republicans into joining his crusade to shut down the government if Obamacare isn’t defunded; those who disagreed, he said, were like “Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis.’ ” [The Washington Post, 9/25/13]

Carly Fiorina on women’s health and rights:

  • Repeatedly, Carly Fiorina has made clear that she opposes safe and legal abortion, and that she would work to overturn Roe v. Wadeif she has the opportunity. “I absolutely would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if the opportunity presented itself.” [The New Yorker, 6/7/10]

  • Carly Fiorina vowed in 2010 to defund Planned Parenthood and cut millions of women off from lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control, and other preventive care.

  • Fiorina opposes the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and regarding the failed Blunt amendment that would allow employers to deny employees birth control, she said: “...There are some who are calling this a vote on a woman's right to choose and a woman's access to contraception. I think that's fundamentally backwards.” [CBS News, 3/2/12]

Sen. Lindsey Graham on women’s health and rights:

  • Wants to ban abortion, with exceptions for rape and incest. Sen. Graham has said, “I’m a pro-life guy, with exceptions for rape and incest.” [Boston Herald, 5/4/15 at 9:52]

  • Introduced the 20-week ban in the Senate in the 113th Congress, and has promised to re-introduce it in the 114th Congress: “If we can convince the American people to provide assistance and prevent abortions at the 20th week, nothing bad is going to happen. Good things will happen.” - U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), [MSNBC, November 7, 2013]

  • In 2013, Sen. Graham, proposed an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would strip out a provision inserted by Sen. Gillibrand to allow individuals to pay for elective abortions in military medical facilities: “U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)…said he was pleased the Senate Armed Services Committee had adopted his amendment to strip out a provision that would have upended a policy on elective abortion in military hospitals.” [www.LindseyGraham.com, 6/14/13]

Gov. Bobby Jindalon women’s health and rights:

  • He compared women who get abortions to criminals, and mandated anti-abortion signs to Miranda warnings. “When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights… it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.” [Think Progress, 7/7/11]

  • In June 2014, Bobby Jindal signed three anti-women’s health bills within four days:

    • HB 388 - Jindal signed a wide-sweeping anti-abortion bill, intended to shut three of the state’s remaining five abortion clinics down [Times-Picayune, 6/12/14]

    • HB 305: prohibits abortion providers or their affiliates, including Planned Parenthood, to instruct or distribute information on health-related issues, such as sex education, at public or charter schools. [HB 305, 6/12/14]

    • HB 1262: requires that a woman seeking abortion care be isolated in a private room and be given biased information about abortion services. [HB 1262, 6/9/14]

Gov. John Kasich on women’s health and rights:

  • Governor John Kasich has signed at least ELEVEN anti-women’s health restrictions into law during his time as governor, and….

    • “Since Kasich entered office in 2011, he has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures. Some directly restrict abortion access, such as the 20-week late-term ban that he signed six months after entering office. Others limit the work of abortion providers. For example, in 2013 he signed the state's budget bill, which included one provision that prohibits state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services and another that stripped Planned Parenthood of an estimated $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars. The measures have had drastic consequences for access to abortion and medical care for Ohio women: During Kasich's time in office, the number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 16 to eight.” [Mother Jones, 7/27/15]

  • In 2013, Governor Kasich, surrounded by men, signed into law a sweeping two-year state budget that includes a provision that effectively strips funding from Planned Parenthood, blocks public hospitals from arranging transfer agreements with abortion clinics, and requires abortion providers to provide ultrasounds to women seeking abortions. It also allows public funding for rape crisis clinics to be suspended if they counsel victims on abortion options. [Reuters, 6/30/13;The Columbus Dispatch, 7/3/13]

  • Signed a bill to prevent federal health plans from covering “nontherapeutic abortion,” meaning any abortion that is performed when the life of the mother would not be at risk or if the pregnancy was not the result of a reported rape or incest. [HB 79, 12/21/11]

Gov. George Pataki  mixed record on women’s health and rights:

  • Legislation attacking women’s health:

    • Wants to repeal the ACA, called it the “worst law” of his lifetime. [The Hill, 3/25/15]

    • In 2005 he vetoed a bill to make EC available without a prescription: due to concerns about there being no age requirement -- he did say that he was open to signing a revised version of the bill. At the time, people said he was pandering to the right because he was considering running for POTUS in 2008.  [The New York Times, 8/2/05]

  • Legislation in support of women’s health:

    • Gov. Pataki signed a bill into law prohibiting the blocking of access to abortion health centers in New York state. [Associated Press,11/23/99]

Sen. Rand Paul on women’s health and rights:

  • Sen. Paul introduced  legislation,S.1881, to prohibit federal funding of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “I am encouraged that the Senate will soon vote on our bill to defund Planned Parenthood.” [paul.senate.gov, 7/29/15]

  • In the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at family planning centers in Rand Paul’s home state of Kentucky, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 68 percent higher and the teen pregnancy rate would be 45 percent higher.

  • Rand Paul wants to ban abortion, and has said he would “take all approaches” to prohibiting it. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Rand Paul said he would, “take all approaches, state, local and federal to try to prohibit abortion,” because he does not want any abortions to be allowed in the United States. In 2010, he received the Kentucky Right to Life endorsement based on his view that there should be no exceptions for abortion, including in cases of rape and incest.  [The O’Reilly Factor, 5/19/10;Northern Kentucky Right to Life Questionnaire, 2010]

Gov. Rick Perryon women’s health and rights:

  • Rick Perry wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. [The New york Times, 12/27/11]

  • Rick Perry has approved massive funding cuts to women’s health programs in Texas, cutting Texas women off from access to preventive care that health centerslike Planned Parenthood provide, including lifesaving cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and well-woman visits. These cuts have forced more than 70 of the women’s health centers in Texas to shut their doors. and contributed to 54 percent fewer patients at family planning programs. [New Republic, 1/11/13,The Nation, 11/30/11,Texas Tribune, 5/12/15,American Journal on Public Health, n.d.]

  • Rick Perry supports extreme personhood measures, which would ban abortion and could interfere with access to some of the most effective forms of birth control. [YouTube, 11/16/11]

  • Despite public outrage, Rick Perry supported legislation that forces government-mandated ultrasounds on women seeking an abortion and requires the provider to describe the image to the woman against her will. [Huffington Post, 5/25/11]

Sen. Marco Rubioon women’s health and rights:

  • Marco Rubio has said that he is adamantly against abortion “even if 100 percent of my constituents were for it,” and when he was running for U.S. [Tallahassee Democrat, 9/6/09]

  • Senate in 2010 bragged about championing a bill that requires women to undergo a government-mandated ultrasound before getting a safe, legal abortion.[PolitiFact, 6/22/10; HB 257, 4/2/08]

  • Rubio alsovoted to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide health care to nearly 80,000 people in Florida, with 61 percent of health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas. [U.S. Senate, 4/14/11]

  • Rubio supported the Hobby Lobby decision that gives employers a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage, returning women to the days of paying up to $600 a year for birth control, and has called for the Affordable Care Act “to be entirely repealed and replaced.”  [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/14]

Sen. Rick Santorumon women’s health and rights:

  • FOX NEWS: On abortion, Santorum “is about as far right on the issue as a GOP candidate can get.” [FOX News,1/3/12]

  • Wants to ban abortion with no exceptions. Would criminalize doctors who perform abortions in cases of rape and incest. “I would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion, should be criminally charged for doing so.” [Think Progress, 5/11/12]

  • Has said that he thinks birth control “doesn’t work” and is “harmful.”  In a 2006 interview, when asked about his position on birth control Rick Santorum said, “I don't think it works. I think it's harmful to women. I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated. [YouTube, 8/27/06]

  • Rick Santorum has said that he wants to defund Planned Parenthood. “I can’t imagine any other organization with its roots as poisonous as the roots of Planned Parenthood getting federal funding of any kind.” [Talking Points Memo, 4/28/11,FOX News, 2/21/12]

Gov. Scott Walkeron women’s health and rights:

  • Walker opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Scott Walker holds the extreme position that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, or to protect the life of the woman. [YouTube, 12/13/11,NYT CBS Poll, 2/19/14]

  • Walker has already signed four laws that threaten a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions about her pregnancy, most recently pledging to sign a 20-week abortion ban into law — which he specifically insisted NOT include exceptions for rape or incest.

  • Walker supports extreme and dangerous “personhood” legislation. Walker has said that he would back so called “personhood” legislation, which would ban access to safe and legal abortion and could interfere with personal, private medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, and management of a miscarriage. [The New York Times, 2/22/15]


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