Jeb Bush

Quote of the Day: Jeb Bush says Planned Parenthood shouldn’t get a penny

Jeb Bush seems to have a pretty slippery definition of “women’s health.” 

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush continued his attack on Planned Parenthood on Tuesday during a town hall in Colorado, saying the women’s health organization shouldn’t get “a penny” because “they’re not doing women’s health issues” and that they were involved in something “way different than that.”

I’ll go ahead and assume that the “way different” thing Bush thinks somehow doesn’t qualify as a “women’s health issue” is the 300,000 abortions Planned Parenthood provides each year — no matter that insignificant organizations like, oh I dunno, the World Health Organization define access to safe abortion as a human right and public health imperative. That still leaves him on the hook for explaining why the 400,000 Pap tests and 500,000 breast exams provided annually by the organization don’t count as health care. There are also 4.5 million people who got STD tests and treatments and 3.7 million who got contraception services at Planned Parenthood last year who might be surprised to find out this wasn’t health care they were receiving.

Earlier this month, Bush was offering a different rationale for defunding Planned Parenthood. At an event put on by the Southern Baptist Convention, he said, “I’m not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” Wait, which is it, Jeb? Are services like gynecological exams, birth control, STD treatments, cancer screenings, and abortions not health care? Or are they just not all that important? He later backpedaled, claiming he “misspoke” and that he thinks other community health clinics offering critical services, particularly to low-income women, should be fully funded — just not Planned Parenthood.

How it is that many of the same services that are “critical” when provided by other clinics do not even qualify as “health care” when provided by Planned Parenthood will likely remain a mystery.

Header image credit: AP/Paul Vernon

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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