1. Florida Politics

Bush's Planned Parenthood jab unfounded

Published Aug. 30, 2015

Planned Parenthood is not involved in women's health issues, said Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

At a town hall in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, an audience member asked Bush about his record on women's health, as well as what he would do for women's health, particularly for veterans, as president.

"When I was governor, we expanded those programs through community-based organizations, and that's something I think the federal government needs to continue to do," Bush said. "I, for one, don't think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though. And that's the difference because they're not actually doing women's health issues. They're involved in something way different than that."

Bush, who cut off state funding for Planned Parenthood as Florida governor, then pivoted to talk about veterans affairs.

Bush's claim that the organization is not involved in women's health caught our attention. Setting aside the issue of abortion, Planned Parenthood offers many other medical services — most of which seem obviously related to women's health.

We reached out to Bush's campaign, and it directed us to a tweet that Bush posted, after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized his remarks. Bush's tweet said, "PP (Planned Parenthood) treatment of unborn has been horrifying. Let's support quality women's health programs instead."

The National Library of Medicine defines "women's health" as "the branch of medicine that focuses on the treatment and diagnosis of diseases and conditions that affect a woman's physical and emotional well-being."

While "women's health" encompasses all health issues as they pertain to women, reproductive health in particular is Planned Parenthood's primary focus. The organization offers contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, prenatal services and cancer screenings, including breast exams. (No, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms, but it conducts breast exams and refers women to other clinics for mammograms.)

In total, Planned Parenthood saw 2.7 million individual patients in 2013, and it provided nearly 11 million services, according to its most recent annual report. About 12 percent of patients received an abortion (assuming one procedure per abortion patient), so the remaining 88 percent of patients received other health services.

Our friends at the Washington Post's Fact Checker also looked at Bush's claim and gave it four pinocchios, their lowest rating.

Bush said Planned Parenthood is "not actually doing women's health issues."

It's hard to reconcile Bush's statement with the fact that — setting abortion procedures aside — Planned Parenthood offered more than 10 million services in 2013. Those services included contraception, breast exams, pregnancy tests, pap tests and STI testing and treatment. Bush is opposed to abortion, but it doesn't make sense to say Planned Parenthood isn't addressing women's health issues.

We rate Bush's claim Pants on Fire.

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