“I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs,” Bush told a gathering at the Send North America Conference, a meeting of evangelical Christians, on Tuesday.
"You could take dollar for dollar — although I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars — for women's health issues, but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine community health organizations that exist to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues. But abortion should not be funded by the government."
Bush knew his comments would bring backlash from Democrats, even as he told the crowd that he defunded Planned Parenthood in Florida when he was governor. He thinks the next president should do the same at the federal level.
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton tweeted directly at Bush on his comments:
Clinton continued to seize on Bush's perceived gaffe, attacking his views on women's health rights in a video in which she says, "Republicans like Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are calling to defund Planned Parenthood, the country's leading provider of reproductive health care. If this feels like a full-on assault on women's health, that's because it is."
.@HillaryClinton what’s absolutely, unequivocally wrong is giving taxpayer $ to an org whose practices show no regard for lives of unborn— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 4, 2015
For his part, Bush had to backtrack and took to his website to clarify his statement.
"With regards to women’s health funding broadly, I misspoke, as there are countless community health centers, rural clinics, and other women’s health organizations that need to be fully funded," Bush's statement reads. "They provide critical services to all, but particularly low-income women who don’t have the access they need.
"I was referring to the hard-to-fathom $500 million in federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood – an organization that was callously participating in the unthinkable practice of selling fetal organs. Democrats and Republicans agree we absolutely must defund them and redirect those funds to other women’s health organizations."
Meanwhile, conservative commentators have also gone after Bush for the gaffe:
Isn't one benefit of an establishment candidate supposed to be that he's not going to make gaffes like this? http://t.co/h96OWUmRKR— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) August 4, 2015
Super helpful comment, Jeb! Yeesh. Helps Dems obfuscate on PP barbarity by conflating issues. https://t.co/ZS3unEvQUp— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 4, 2015