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WASHINGTON, DC -- Jeb Bush doubled down with his extreme agenda for women today at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, bragging about his record of putting the government in the middle of women's most personal health care decisions during his tenure as governor of Florida. Jeb Bush said: "When I got to be governor of the state of Florida, I insisted that we create a culture of life, from beginning to end. It was one of the guiding principles of my joyous experience...we took special care for the most vulnerable in our society...we also put the rights of the unborn at the front of the lines as well.”  He also bragged about spending $2 million a year for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide misleading or medically inaccurate information to women seeking counseling about their pregnancy options. Of his attempt to take custody of Terri Schiavo and overrule her husband’s decision to remove her feeding tube, he stated, “I think that should be the first and most important instinct in this nation.”

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Today, Jeb Bush revealed his extreme agenda for America -- bragging about his record of putting the government in the middle of women’s most personal health care decisions. While Jeb Bush may try to paint himself as a moderate, voters need look no further than his Florida record to see he’s been no friend to women.

“As governor, Jeb Bush signed multiple laws restricting abortion access and expanding ineffective abstinence-only programs and funneling taxpayer money to crisis pregnancy centers, which are known for lying to patients about their health care options. He also showed a disturbing eagerness to insert the government into personal health care matters when he tried to get a court to appoint a legal guardian for a rape survivor’s fetus and, of course, when he tried to overrule Terri Schiavo’s husband’s decision to remove her feeding tube.

“Jeb Bush’s positions are far outside the mainstream and would harm millions of women, cutting off access to preventive health care, birth control, and safe and legal abortion. If Florida was a lab for Jeb Bush’s policies, it’s safe to say that was a failed experiment.”

Key quotes from Jeb’s speech today:

  • "When I got to be governor of the state of Florida, I insisted that we build a culture of life, from beginning to end. It was one of the guiding principles of my joyous experience...we also put the rights of the unborn in the front of the line as well.”
  • “At my urging the state of Florida was the first state to sustain funding -- $2 million a year -- to go to crisis pregnancy centers, to provide counseling and therapy. State money going to crisis pregnancy centers to give parents -- moms -- other choices. I signed into law a partial birth abortion ban.”
  • "And when I was asked to intervene on behalf of a woman who could not speak up for herself, I stood on her side. I stood on the side of Terri Schaivo and her parents. And I think that should be the first and most important instinct in this nation…We could shut down government if we all acted on our sense of consciousness about helping others."
  • "I'm reminded of what Secretary, Senator Clinton said, that when people that have religious beliefs they run into conflict with the women's right to choose for example that the people who have religious conscience have to get over it, have to take a step back. Well in a big diverse country, we need to make sure that we protect the right not just of having religious views, but the right of acting on those views."
  • "We find a federal agency dictating to a catholic charity the Little Sisters of the Poor what has to go in their health plan, and never mind the objections of conscience. I don't know about you but I’m betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services."

You can watch his full speech here

FACT CHECK: Jeb Bush’s positions on women’s health

  • As governor, Bush signed at least SIX anti-abortion laws into law and in 2003 declared that he was "probably the most pro-life governor in modern times.” He advocated for and signed targeted restrictions on abortion providers, one of which the Tampa Bay Times editorial board wrote were “rules clearly written by bureaucrats, not health professionals.” 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.”
  • As governor, Bush aggressively intervened in two high-profile cases to prevent a developmentally disabled rape victim and a young woman, who was a ward of the state and became pregnant after running away from another state group home, from being able to access safe, legal abortion. In one of those cases, he tried to get a state-appointed legal guardian for the young woman’s fetus.
  • Jeb Bush intervened in what has been called one of the “most contentious, drawn-out conflicts in the history of America’s culture wars,” and attempted to take custody of Terri Schiavo and overrule her husband’s decision to remove her feeding tube, 15 years after cardiac arrest had left her in a vegetative state.
  • Jeb Bush allowed a law to pass in Florida in 2001 that forced single mothers — including minors and rape victims — planning to place their children for adoption to advertise their sexual histories in a newspaper if they didn’t know the identity of the father. Bush, who was Florida’s governor at the time, declined to veto the bill, which quickly became known as the “Scarlet Letter Law.”
  • Bush wrote an entire chapter in his book on “character” called “The Restoration of Shame” about returning to a time when “public condemnation” was used to prevent people from “irresponsible conduct,” specifically targeting single mothers.
  • Jeb Bush funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence-only programs, while cutting funds for crucial family planning programs that health centers like Planned Parenthood provide.

FACT CHECK: Jeb Bush’s Policies Had a Negative Impact on Florida women:

  • In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, Jeb Bush’s home state of Florida is tied for last place for women’s health.
  • According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 34 percent of Florida’s 67 counties do not have any ob-gyns.
  • In 2012, 1,199,480 women in Florida were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act more than 1,801,000 now have access without a copay.
  • In the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 28 percent higher in Florida, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 37 percent higher.
  • In Florida, the publicly funded family planning services provided at safety-net health centers in 2010 helped save $260,272,000 in public funds.
  • Planned Parenthood health centers served nearly 80,000 people in Florida last year; with 61 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide.
    • Conducted 30,995 tests for chlamydia — a leading cause of preventable infertility — that resulted in 2,372 positive results and follow-up treatment
    • Performed 17,487 breast exams
    • Provided 54,808 patients with birth control services

In Jeb Bush’s own words:

  • Jeb Bush has a long history of opposing safe and legal abortion. 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]
  • Jeb Bush claims that the Affordable Care Act, a law that is a historic advancement for women’s access to health care, is “flawed to its core.”  The law ensures that women can’t be charged more for health insurance or denied coverage for so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or domestic abuse. It also ensures that women have access to no-copay birth control, saving women up to $600 a year, and has helped nearly 12 million Americans gain access to affordable health care, including more than more than 1,590,000 Florida residents. [POLITICO, 10/20/13; ASPE Office of Health Policy, 3/10/15]
  • In a Florida case where a 22-year-old woman living in a state-supervised facility was raped and became pregnant, Bush asked a court to appoint a guardian to represent the woman's fetus saying, ''Given the facts of this case, it is entirely appropriate that an advocate be appointed to represent the unborn child's best interests in all decisions.” [New York Times, 5/15/2003]
  • Jeb Bush wants to block women from getting preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, and one of his campaign advisors recently said, "We have got to defund Planned Parenthood, by the way, and Gov. Bush supports those efforts." [Huffington Post, 4/27/15]
  • In his 1995 book called Profiles of Character, Jeb Bush wrote: “One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame...There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.” [Huffington Post, 6/9/15]
  • When Jeb Bush was asked about what he wrote in his book about unwed births, he told MSNBC that his views haven’t changed. [MSNBC, 6/11/15]

About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

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.

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


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