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Jeb Bush delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University today – touting his positions to ban abortion, make it harder for women to get birth control, and roll back protections for LGBT people.

Bush’s views – and his record as governor – are far outside the mainstream and out of touch with the majority of Americans, who want to ensure abortion remains safe and legal and that millions of low-income women can continue to rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for affordable cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic health care.

  • According to a New York Times/CBS poll, 72 percent of Republicans think abortion should be available.
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll, a solid 77 percent of voters opposed cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

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

“Jeb Bush has worked to ban abortion, make birth control less affordable, and defund Planned Parenthood to block low-income women from lifesaving cancer screenings and other preventive health care.

“Today, Jeb Bush was hailed as a ‘hero’ by Jerry Falwell’s headquarters and FOX News, but the rest of America got a look at his extreme views that would roll back the rights of women, LGBT people, and others.

“As governor, Jeb Bush signed multiple laws restricting abortion access and expanding ineffective abstinence-only programs. 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.”

Jeb Bush has worked to:

  • Interfere with a woman’s ability to access safe, legal abortion and in 2003 declared that he was "probably the most pro-life governor in modern times." 
  • As governor, Bush aggressively intervened in two high-profile cases to prevent a developmentally disabled rape victim and a 13-year-old girl from being able to access safe, legal abortion. 
  • Advocate for and signed restrictions that are aimed at shutting down health centers that provide safe and legal abortion. The Tampa Bay Times wrote “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.” 
  • Funnel millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence-only programs, while cutting funds for crucial family planning programs that health centers like Planned Parenthood provide.
  • Show how far he was willing to go to interfere with personal medical decisions when he 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.

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]


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.

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 Action Fund media line at [email protected].