In the 1950s, Prescott Bush (R-Conn.) was elected to the U.S. Senate twice, but he narrowly lost his first bid for statewide office in 1950. At the time, Bush drew criticism from church officials in Connecticut for his support of Planned Parenthood. As Roll Call reported a while ago, Prescott Bush was actually “the treasurer of the family planning group’s first national fundraising campaign.”
When his son, George H.W. Bush, was in Congress, he was such an enthusiastic supporter of Planned Parenthood’s efforts that some of his colleagues gave him an unfortunate nickname: “Rubbers.”
As Amanda Terkel reported, Jeb Bush appears to be breaking with family tradition.
Jeb Bush supports efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, according to one of his senior advisers.Jordan Sekulow is a prominent Christian evangelical attorney and joined the former Florida governor’s team last month as a senior adviser. He spoke Saturday at the Faith and Freedom Summit in Iowa, where nine presidential hopefuls appealed to the group of conservatives in attendance. Bush, who is exploring a run and widely expected to jump into the field, skipped the event and sent Sekulow in his stead.
Jeb Bush’s surrogate speaker specifically told far-right Iowans, “We have got to defund Planned Parenthood, by the way, and Gov. Bush supports those efforts.” [Update: here’s the video with the corrected link.]
I guess when it comes to family planning, the former governor really is his “own man.”
If we assume the Bush campaign’s designated surrogate is accurately describing the candidate’s position, the Florida Republican is one of several prominent GOP candidates to take a stand against Planned Parenthood. For example, he joins New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who used to be a pro-choice Planned Parenthood donor, before he changed his mind and vetoed funding for the organization in the state budget.
As the Huffington Post piece added, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also oppose Planned Parenthood funding.
We’ve apparently reached the point at which this is a litmus-test issue for all national GOP candidates, and it’s likely that every Republican in the 2016 field will adopt roughly the same position.
But looking back, Mitt Romney made his opposition to Planned Parenthood a key part of his 2012 platform, too. Among women voters, the GOP nominee lost by 10 points to President Obama.
Disclosure: My wife works for Planned Parenthood, but played no role in this piece and her work is unrelated to the 2016 campaign.