2016 Presidential Candidates Debate Federal Planned Parenthood Funding

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Image of Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debating about defunding Planned Parenthood at the first Republican debate in Cleveland, OH, on Aug. 6, 2015
Source: Peter Stevens, “Trump Fails to Back Up Misogynist Slurs with Anti-woman Proposals, Rivals Say,” flickr.com, Aug. 6, 2015

In light of the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and controversy surrounding a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood doctors selling tissue specimens from aborted fetuses, we have compiled the 2016 presidential candidate’s responses to whether or not Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal funding.

Jeb Bush, on Aug. 4, 2015, made the following statement:

“[W]e absolutely must defund them [Planned Parenthood] and redirect those funds to other women’s health organizations.”

Source: Jeb Bush, “Jeb Bush Statement on Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood,” jeb2016.com, Aug. 4, 2015

Ben Carson made the following statement on his campaign website:

“I, like many of you, was sickened when I saw the video of Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood secretly video taped discussing selling aborted baby parts. I was more than sickened, I was enraged.

Congress must act NOW! Please sign my petition to Congress demanding that they stop all public funds to Planned Parenthood.”

Source: Ben Carson for President 2016, “Congress: Stop Funding Planned Parenthood,” www.bencarson.com (accessed Dec. 5, 2015)

Chris Christie, on July 20, 2015, while speaking to South Carolina residents, said:

“[W]ith the most recent revelation, there’s even more reason not to fund Planned Parenthood. I’ve vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood and if I were president of the United States I would do exactly the same.”

Source: Matt Arco, “Christie Vows to Defund Planned Parenthood If Elected President,” nj.com, July 20, 2015

Hillary Clinton, on Aug. 3, 2015, posted this on Twitter:

“If this feels like a full-on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is. When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they’re talking about blocking millions of women, men, and young people from live-saving preventive care: cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control…

I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Source: Hillary Clinton, Twitter post, twitter.com/HillaryClinton, Aug. 3, 2015

Ted Cruz, on Aug. 20, 2015, wrote the following in an opinion piece:

“For far too long, Planned Parenthood has hidden behind the well-crafted charade that that it exists to protect women’s health. In reality, it is in the business of killing unborn children on an industrial scale…

I intend to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Source: Ted Cruz, “Cruz: End Planned Parenthood funding,” usatoday.com, Aug. 20, 2015

Carly Fiorina, on Sep. 27, 2015, stated the following during an interview:

“Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and body parts. That is a fact… And, taxpayers are paying for it… It must be stopped…”

Source: Meet the Press, NBC News, Sep. 27, 2015

Lindsey Graham, on Aug. 3, 2015, made the following statement on his campaign website:

“I wholly support the defunding of Planned Parenthood today and in the future. As president, I pledge I would never send a budget to Capitol Hill that contains a penny of funding for Planned Parenthood…

Organizations that harvest body parts from unborn children is neither Planned Parenthood nor right and should not receive any support from the Federal Government.”

Source: Lindsey Graham 2016, “Statement in Response to Today’s Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood,” www.lindseygraham.com, Aug. 3, 2015

Mike Huckabee, on Sep. 30, 2015, made the following statement to a reporter:

“Our country is $19 trillion in the hole and Planned Parenthood had a surplus of $127 million last year. Clearly this private entity does NOT need public taxpayer funding to function… Planned Parenthood isn’t purely a ‘healthcare provider’ any more than a heroin dealer is a community pharmacist. Butchering babies and harvesting their organs to be swapped and sold is evil.”

Source: Alex Swoyer, “Exclusive: Mike Huckabee: Washington’s Priorities ‘Pathetic’ Funding Planned Parenthood as Veterans Die Waiting for Healthcare,” www.breitbart.com, Sep. 30, 2015

John Kasich, on Sep. 28, 2015, said the following during an interview:

“I’m for getting rid of all this Planned Parenthood funding and to be able to shift it to other kinds of family planning institutions… Fight like crazy to defund Planned Parenthood. Most people in America, I think, would agree that as long as family planning can occur somewhere else, get rid of the funding for that organization.”

Source: Bill Hoffman, “Kasich: ‘Fight Like Crazy to Defund Planned Parenthood,’ but Don’t Close down Govt,” www.newsmax.com, Sep. 28, 2015

Martin O’Malley, on Aug. 3, 2015, made the following post on Twitter:

“Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services to millions of women. Today’s vote to defund is wrong.”

Source: Martin O’Malley, Facebook post, Facebook.com/MartinOMalley, Aug. 3, 2015

Rand Paul, on July 29, 2015, released the following statement on his Senate website:

“I think it is important to know there are 9,000 community health centers across the country which do everything that Planned Parenthood does except for abortion.

There is absolutely no need for public funding of Planned Parenthood. There’s no excuse for it and we should end all funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Source: Rand Paul, “Dr. Rand Paul Urges Support for Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood at Press Conference,” paul.senate.gov, July 29, 2015

Marco Rubio, on July 22, 2015, released this statement on his Senate website:

“The cruel and callous language used by senior Planned Parenthood officials is sickening, shows a complete disregard for innocent unborn life, not to mention Planned Parenthood’s clients, and speaks to an organization that is morally bankrupt. There is simply no justification for an organization that fosters this kind of culture to receive a penny of taxpayer funding…”

Source: Marco Rubio, “Rubio Joins Ernst’s Bipartisan Effort Urging HHS Secretary to Comply with Planned Parenthood Investigations, Conduct Assessment to Facilitate Congressional Review,” rubio.senate.gov, July 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders, on July 29, 2015, made the following statement:

“The attempt by Senate Republicans to cut off support for Planned Parenthood is an attack on women’s health. Stripping funding for Planned Parenthood would punish the 2.7 million Americans, especially low-income women, who rely on its clinics for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services…

The vast majority of government funding that Planned Parenthood receives is through Medicaid reimbursements. Cutting that funding will be devastating to the health needs of millions of women who desperately need the quality services Planned Parenthood provides.”

Source: Bernie Sanders, “Sanders Statement on Planned Parenthood,” sanders.senate.gov, July 29, 2015

Donald Trump, on Nov. 19, 2015, made the following statement during a campaign rally:

“I’m against it. I’m for defunding Planned Parenthood, very strongly. And that’s really become, that’s been such a big subject lately, especially when you’re looking on television and you’re seeing, you know, some of those clips that are terrible—so I’m totally for defunding. We shouldn’t be giving to Planned Parenthood.”

Source: Last Night Today, “Donald Trump Speech Holds Rally in Newton, IA 11/19/15 (Full),” www.youtube.com, Nov. 19, 2015


Jackie Calmes, “Video Accuses Planned Parenthood of Crime,” nytimes.com, July 15, 2015

Matt Pearce, “Planned Parenthood shooting Suspect: ‘I Am Guilty,'” latimes.com, Dec. 9, 2015