TO: Interested Parties
DATE: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
SUBJECT: Memo/Statement: Mike Huckabee and the race to the bottom on women’s health
FROM: Gena Madow, Press Officer, Planned Parenthood Action Fund

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Mike Huckabee has said a lot of insulting things about women, most notably his comment that the Affordable Care Act’s provision giving women access to no-copay birth control was created because women “cannot control their own libido.” However, the problem isn’t what Mike Huckabee says — it’s the impact that his anti-women’s health agenda would have on women and their families across the nation.

Huckabee’s positions on women’s health and rights are far outside the mainstream and at odds with the vast majority of the American public, including most Republicans.

Mike Huckabee supports:

  • Mike Huckabee has said it would “most certainly” be a good day if Roe v. Wade were overturned — ending a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion — and as governor, he signed several anti-women’s health bills, including a bill that would criminalize doctors for providing abortion and another that requires women to listen to a state-mandated script before they could get a safe, legal abortion.   
  • Mike Huckabee has advocated for and endorsed extreme “personhood” legislation which would ban abortion and could interfere with access to some of the most effective forms of birth control.
  • Mike Huckabee has said Congress should defund Planned Parenthood and cut millions of women off from lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control and other preventive care.
  • Mike Huckabee has advocated for repealing the Affordable Care Act and its historic advancements for women, including the birth control benefit.

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

“Mike Huckabee has said some ugly and offensive things about women. But the biggest problem isn’t what Mike Huckabee says — it’s how the policies he supports would hurt women across the country. Mike Huckabee would work to make it harder for women to get affordable birth control, block women from cancer screenings and other preventive care, and ban abortion. His positions are out of touch with the American public — who respect a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions, without politicians getting in the way.

“Mike Huckabee’s positions are far outside the mainstream and don’t reflect the values of the American public, including most Republican voters, who want women to make their own personal health care decisions.”

Some of the most egregious things Mike Huckabee has done:

  • One of Mike Huckabee’s first acts as governor was to refuse to authorize a $430 Medicaid claim for an abortion for a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather has been charged with incest. Huckabee relied on a state provision banning public funding of abortions only when a woman's life is in danger, even though Federal law requires that Medicaid pay for abortions for poor women in cases of rape and incest, as well as when a woman's life is in danger. [The New York Times, 8/10/96]
  • Huckabee’s first involvement in politics was in the 1980s while as a pastor; he worked as an organizer for an Arkansas ballot amendment that would ban all public funding for abortions except in order to save the life of the woman. [Washington Post, 12/21/07]

Impact on Arkansas women:

  • In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, Mike Huckabee’s home state of Arkansas ranks among the bottom 11 states with the worst “overall well-being” ratings for women and children.
  • In 2012, 199,640 women in Arkansas were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act 382,000 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 63 percent higher in Arkansas, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 58 percent higher.
  • In Arkansas, the publicly funded family planning services provided at safety-net health centers in 2010 helped save $154,290,000 in public funds.
  • According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 61 percent of Arkansas’ 75 counties do not have any ob-gyns.

In Huckabee’s own words:

  • Huckabee has said, "For me this is an issue that, as I said before, it transcends all of the political issues. I often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life." [WBIR, 2/14/11]
     
  • In a statement to an anti-women's health group about Planned Parenthood, the leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Huckabee said: “We need to demand this Congress vote to defund Planned Parenthood.  Our tax dollars should never be used to provide abortions and our government should put an end to it immediately.” [Roll Call, 4/4/11]
     
  • When asked about the birth control benefit which has made contraception available without a copay for 48.5 million women nationwide, Mike Huckabee said: “And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it." [Huffington Post, 1/23/14]
     
  • In defense of his extreme position that women should be forced to carry a pregnancy as a result of rape, Huckabee said: "[E]ven from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things." [Los Angeles Times, 8/20/12]
     
  • Mike Huckabee has been vocal about his support for personhood legislation, and has said: "I support a constitutional amendment written specifically to protect the right to human life."  [www.explorehuckabee.com, accessed 4/17/15]

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