Where Do the GOP Presidential Candidates Stand on Defunding Planned Parenthood?

By Amelia Hamilton Published on September 6, 2015

Among GOP voters, the protection of life is a key issue. As a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood have been released throughout the summer, calls to investigate and defund that organization have reached new levels, meaning that the 2016 hopefuls will have to take a stand.

Here’s a handy guide to what each candidate had to say, if anything.

Jeb Bush

As Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush defunded Planned Parenthood in that state. Earlier this month, he said that the next President of the United States should do the same at the federal level.


Ben Carson

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson has saved the lives of countless children over the years. He is now speaking out in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.

At a “Defund Planned Parenthood” rally last month, Carson spoke out on life. He asked, “Are we going to become a culture of life or a culture of death. Just think about the two different pathways and where they lead.”

As for those legitimate medical procedures, Carson had this response:


Chris Christie

Like Governor Bush, Chris Christie also defunded planned Parenthood in his home state as governor. He has now vowed to do the same nationwide should he become president, saying, “I’ve vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood and if I were president of the United States I would do exactly the same.”

On CNN, he said simply, “We should just defund Planned Parenthood.”


Ted Cruz

Cruz has been steadfast in his desire to defund Planned Parenthood. A quick browse of YouTube shows video after video in which he has spoken out on the topic.

In the video below, from the Defund Planned Parenthood Rally, he says, “I call upon the United States Congress right now, today, to stand up and lead and to defund Planned Parenthood.”


Carly Fiorina

As the only female candidate in the GOP race, Fiorina has a unique perspective on abortion and women’s issues. She has said that she would be willing to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.Just two weeks ago, she said, “There is no excuse. Planned Parenthood must be defunded.”


Lindsey Graham

Although he is pro-life, Lindsey Graham notably skipped the recent vote on defunding Planned Parenthood. Last month, Roll Call quoted him as saying, “Let me just be clear about me and Planned Parenthood. If I were president, I would never submit a budget with one dime for Planned Parenthood. I am not going, as Senator Graham, to shut the government down because of this fight.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee has been very clear that he wants Planned Parenthood to be defunded, saying, “It’s not enough to say we’ll end funding for these butchers at Planned Parenthood. We need to end the disgusting disregard for human life that is the foundation for the infanticide that is beneath the dignity of our nation.”

At the Iowa State Fair, he said “When I hear people say, ‘Well, we’ll defund Planned Parenthood,’ wonderful. That’s terrific. I think we should do it. But let’s do more than that. Let’s not just end funding for this nightmare. Let’s end the nightmare.”


Bobby Jindal

Since the Planned Parenthood videos became public, Bobby Jindal has taken action. As Governor of Louisiana, he ended Planned Parenthood’s contract with the state. “I canceled Planned Parenthood’s contracts to make sure they weren’t getting taxpayer dollars from the state of Louisiana,” Jindal is quoted as saying.

During the Fox News debate, Jindal said “Absolutely, we need to defund Planned Parenthood.”


George Pataki

GOP hopeful George Pataki took his desire to defund Planned Parenthood a step further than the other candidates. He said he thinks he has the political savvy to get Democrats on board, too. He told Newsmax, “I would work night and day and I believe successfully to get enough Democrats to stand with the Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood.”

He also told Fox News, “It is clear that Planned Parenthood had a horrible disregard for life. I don’t think they should be given taxpayer funding.”


Rand Paul

Rand Paul has been an outspoken advocate for defunding Planned Parenthood, calling for funding community health centers instead.

On the floor, Paul, who is also a doctor, said, “The time has come to end all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”


Rick Perry

Governor Perry also has called for Planned Parenthood to be defunded nationwide. And last month he appeared on Fox News, where he was asked if he would defund Planned Parenthood if he were president. “We did that in Texas when I was the governor,” he said. “We zeroed out the funding for Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas, and I see no difference.”


Marco Rubio

Rubio agrees it’s time to defund Planned Parenthood. In an interview, he put the responsibility of a possible government shutdown on Democrats. “It’s not us who’s going to shut down the government. It’s the Democrats. In essence, the choice is theirs to make. Are they saying that they’re willing to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood? … This is the Democrats threatening to shut down the government unless we use taxpayer money for a specific organization. That’s outrageous.”

Recently, Rubio said, “They shouldn’t get a penny of federal funding. Why? If they’re such a great organization, let them raise all the money.”


Rick Santorum

Santorum told CNN that Planned Parenthood should be defunded because they are “doing barbaric things” and that federal funds “shouldn’t be used for morally objectionable purposes.”

At the Iowa State Fair, he said “Planned Parenthood shouldn’t just be defunded. Planned Parenthood is breaking the law, federal law, and need to be prosecuted under federal law.”

Donald Trump

While many of the candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood, Donald Tump has waffled, telling CNN, “I would look at the good aspects of it and I would also look because I’m sure they do some things properly and good, good for women, and I would look at that.”

However, when speaking with The Blaze’s Dana Loesch, he said that they should be defunded. “It’s disgusting, and absolutely, they should be defunded.”

Scott Walker

Like other governors on this list, Walker pointed to his track record with Planned Parenthood. As governor, he defunded the organization in his home state of Wisconsin and, recently, he supported legislation that would also block federal funding.

On Fox News, he said, “We need to be defunding Planned Parenthood, not only state by state, but, I think, across the country.”

Candidates Jim Gilmore and John Kasich have not publicly stated if they would defund Planned Parenthood.

Is abortion an issue that moves you when you select a candidate? Whose response most resonates with you?

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