Jeb Bush Says $500 Million Is Too Much to Spend on "Women's Health Issues"


On Monday, Senate Republicans tried and failed to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. In an interview at Southern Baptist Convention 24 hours later, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush went a step further, calling into question the amount of government money spent on women's health services.

"I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues," Bush says in a clip uploaded by the Democratic research outfit American Bridge, "but if you took, dollar for dollar — there are many extraordinary fine organizations, community health organizations, that exist, federally sponsored organizations, to provide quality care for woman on a variety of health issues."

Mic/American Bridge

His jumbled comment came in the midst of a long answer to a question about a series of videos recorded in secret and edited to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for fetal tissue with undercover anti-abortion activists posing as biomedical researchers.

The federal government provides Planned Parenthood with $500 million annually. In addition to its abortion services — which cannot, by law, be paid for with federal funds — the group is also among the nation's largest providers of family planning and reproductive health care. 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who called the videos "disturbing" last week, responded to Bush's remarks in a tweet:

The Bush campaign responded in turn, seeking to cast the candidate's potentially damaging words as a slip of the tongue.

"With regards to women's health funding broadly, I misspoke," Bush said in a statement released minutes after he left the stage. "There are countless community health centers, rural clinics and other women's health organizations that need to be fully funded. They provide critical services to all, but particularly low-income women who don't have the access they need."

The issue, he said, was strictly related to federal money directed to Planned Parenthood, an organization he accused of "callously participating is the unthinkable practice of selling fetal organs."

You can view the question and Bush's initial response below: