Jeb Bush Wants to Investigate Planned Parenthood, Which His Grandfather Helped Found

The Bush family's "evolving" position on abortion


The Bush brothers have been carrying the pro-life mantle for a generation now. President George W. Bush is famously pro-life and his brother, Jeb Bush, is too. In fact, Jeb has been gunning for Planned Parenthood even before the recent expose by the Center for Medical Progress showing that the organization was "selling baby

Bush Family
Foter / Public domain

parts." In April, he started spreading the word that he wants to defund Planned Parenthood through his advisor who went before the Faith and Freedom Summit in Iowa and declared: "We have got to defund Planned Parenthood, by the way, and Gov. Bush supports those efforts."

And since the CMP videos, Bush has called for federal investigation of Planned Parenthood.

But the interesting thing about the Bush brothers is that they broke ranks with a tradition of support for the organization.

President George H.W. Bush was pro-choice—and a supporter of Planned Parenthood—before he was against it.

But the real kicker is about President Bush senior's father—and Dubya and Jeb's grandfather—Prescott Bush was actually the treasurer of Planned Parenthood when it was — err — conceived in 1947. As per a 2005 SF Gate story:

Care to guess who was the treasurer of Planned Parenthood when it launched its first national fundraising campaign in 1947? It was Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of the two Bush presidents.

The political repercussions hit hard. Prescott Bush was knocked out of an expected victory for a Senate seat in Connecticut in 1950 after syndicated columnist Drew Pearson declared that it "has been made known" that Bush was a leader in the "Birth Control Society" (The old name of Planned Parenthood had been the Birth Control Federation of America.) Recall that contraceptives were controversial in those days—and remember that a constitutional right to use them wasn't established until 1965, when the Supreme Court affirmed an implied right to privacy in Griswold vs. Connecticut.

Prescott Bush won a Senate seat two years later, and his son George and daughter-in-law Barbara continued to support Planned Parenthood even after George's election to Congress from Texas. In fact, he was such an advocate for family planning that some House colleagues gave him the nickname "Rubbers."

But as he began to position himself for the White House within the increasingly conservative GOP, he gradually began to identify himself as averse to abortion first by opposing Medicaid funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, and ultimately by acceding to presidential nominee Ronald Reagan's demand that, as his vice presidential nominee, Bush embrace the GOP platform's call for a constitutional amendment against abortion.

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  1. I blame Bush.


      1. That’s also the answer to “Who’s worse, Hitler or Stalin?”

  2. I believe the Klingons hold sons accountable for dishonor for seven generations. How many generations do Americans have to go before they are just people making their own decisions?

    1. Depends. Do they have a “D” or an “R” after their names?

      1. Thank you for your profound moral clarification!

    2. No kidding. I never knew that families held “positions”. I could have sworn that libertarians believe in individuals and individual agency.

      Oh right, it’s Dipshit, so it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. Never mind.

      1. Oh right, it’s Dipshit, so it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. Never mind.

        Hey now. She has sensitive little feelings. We don’t want her to think of less of the commentariat than she already does. That would be just unbearable.

        1. She’s the biggest Goddamned idiot on this site and that includes the commenters. Sweet Jesus, it’s been quite a while since I’ve read such a stupid article.

          1. I’m happy to know that she knows how much we loathe her articles.

    3. Hugh, thanks for that. Also applies to Rand. Let’s not judge sons by the sins or virtues of their fathers.

  3. The Bush brothers have been carrying the pro-life mantle for a generation now. President George W. Bush is famously pro-choice and his brother, Jeb Bush, is too

    Sometimes this site makes me feel like I forgot how to read or something.

    1. You know who else didn’t do a good job proof reading their articles?

      1. Anna Merlan?

  4. So, they should want even more to investigate PP, since their family is, in part, responsible, no?

    1. No no. They should blindly support it and give PP unlimited federal cash to prove they are libertarians.

      1. And their descnedants must also continue to blindly support it for all eternity too, or risk exposing their entire bloodline as wafflers.

  5. Does this article have a point? Is ending federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood the same as destroying it? Why did Prescott Bush engage in a fundraising campaign in 1947 when we could have just given PP my grandfathers’ tax dollars?

    1. And don’t forget, the sins of the ancestors are always the fault the of offspring!

    2. Does this article have a point?

      No, it doesn’t. Everyone already knows that Gearge W and Jeb Bush are both staunchly pro-life, and while I didn’t know their grandfather was involved in the founding of PP, or that their father supported it*, but I fail to see why I should give a shit what Prescott Bush thought about anything in 1947.

      *although how much isn’t clear: the article says he supported “family planning” so much he was nicknamed “rubbers” when he was in Congress, but supporting condom use and birth control isn’t the same thing as supporting abortion

      1. Supporting birth control is actually a pretty mainstream pro-life position, and has been for awhile.

    3. Does this article have a point?

      Page refreshes to make money. A noble cause indeed.

  6. Is there some rule that politicians must share the views of their parents and grandfathers? This is stupid, even for Shikha.

    1. Yes, but only when it’s the Other Team.

    2. “Is there some rule that politicians must share the views of their parents and grandfathers? ”

      Only if they’re Hindu.

      1. This is a good point. I wonder what Shikha’s parents’ views are on the caste system? Do they look down on untouchables?

        1. “Shikha honey, are you *still* writing for that verminous den of untouchables?”

      2. Only if they’re Hindu.

        You joke, but that might be why she seems to think this is some kind of big deal that the grandsons don’t share their ancestors view on abortion. I don’t know if there’s some kind of old Hindu tradition governing this sort of thing or not, but maybe. It’s the only reason I think of why she seems to think this is some kind of big deal.

  7. So this morning I kind of heckled Dalmia about being a single single issue person on immigration and how she never writes about anything else, and now we get … an abortion post from her. I think she’s probably just trolling at this point.

    1. Speaking of trolling, when The Intercept steps out of its 4A comfort zone it’s hilarious. They have one up now on how the Koch’s lobbying for criminal justice reform is just a cover for their more nefarious efforts to roll back carbon regulations and medical device taxes.

      They have some good journalists over there. Lee Fang is not one of them.

      1. Well, you have to remember that to progs, hanging around the Koch Brothers is literally the same as being one of the inner circle at a SMERSH convocation, replete with white persian cats, shark tanks and personal assistants that look like Rosa Kleb.

        It’s what they use to scare their nephews and nieces into compliance. It’s very real to them – one might even say it’s an article of faith.

      2. They have one up now on how the Koch’s lobbying for criminal justice reform is just a cover for their more nefarious efforts to roll back carbon regulations and medical device taxes.

        Because there’s just no way a couple of EVUL RICH KKKORPRATE TYPES could possibly genuinely support criminal justice reform. THEY MUST BE UP TO SOMETHING!!!111!!!!!1!!!!!!!

  8. But the interesting thing about the current Bush brothers Democrats is that they broke ranks with a tradition of support for the organization slavery and Jim Crow.

    Makes just as much sense.

  9. I’m not at all sure I understand Dalmia’s attempt at an argument here in the least. Is she saying that people have a responsibility to hold the same views as their ancestors? Is it that If your ancestors agreed with a position you don’t, you’re unfit to oppose it?

    Or is Dalmia just shooting for peak retard?

    1. It’s literally a pater tuus quoque, a logical fallacy so transparently stupid that it is left out of the register of fallacies.

      1. I prefer tu probabiliter quoque, where you assume that the other party is being hypocritical because it’s convenient for your argument.

      2. You know, I can’t help but wonder, when Dalmia writes a piece, does Gillespie pause and ask her, “Shikha, are you sure you want to publish that?”. Or does he get a smirk knowing the website will get a shitload of hits and it’ll be someone other than him looking like a fool to accomplish that? Or does he agree with it?

        1. I don’t think there is that level of pause and control. I think these articles go straight up and that “Editor” is more of an honorary title.

    2. I’m thinking it’s a parody of Salon.

  10. My God!

    I’m in trouble! You see, back in 1959, my dad was a socialist. Really! Therefore everything I argue promoting anarchy is hopelessly tainted! My dad supported the welfare state and therefore my opposition to it must be insincere!

    I even had dinner with my dad a few weeks ago! The shame of it!

    Shikha, this is easily the stupidest article you have produced in the past year. It had a high bar to clear and boy did it clear it.

    1. We need to remove your bloodline root and stem to avoid tainting future generations.

      1. The part about corruption of blood in that Constitution thingy keeps you safe. For now.

    2. Shikha, this is easily the stupidest article you have produced in the past year. It had a high bar to clear and boy did it clear it.

      +1 Sergei Bubka

      1. You have a point. It’s almost so stupid, that it violates the NAP.

  11. Well, obviously, if his grandfather helped found it, then there’s no justifiable excuse for him not to support them in every way?

    I have ancestors that fought in the American Revolution–for the colonies, no less. And you may find this hard to believe, but my grandfather once criticized the United States government.

    No really!

    I loved and respected him anyway, after all, he was still my grandfather. …even if he did betray the American Revolution and his own heritage by criticizing the United States government…

    Is that what I’m supposed to say?!

    1. Those of my ancestors who fought in the war of independence fought on the British side. Going back farther, one of my ancestors was a titheman!

      Tithemen were the tax collectors/enforcers for the commonwealth of massachusetts’ state supported churches.

      1. Well, according to Shikha Dalmia, I think you’re supposed to support everything the British do then.

  12. Holy fuck, Shikha, you forgot to remind us that W., Jeb AND H.W broke ranks with Prescott over that little story about funding the Nazis. That old saw never seems to get old.

    If the Journolist expose achieved anything, it forced a huge number of intellectually retarded pundits into deeper cover and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out via TMZ that Weigel now self-identifies as a south asian woman. NTTAWWT, except it’s Weigel.

    Not to mention the fact that Shikha doesn’t want to acknowledge that many libertarians’ views have evolved – not least on abortion.

    You really are a chancre on the labia of this site, Dalmia.

    1. Has anyone ever seen Dalmia and Weigel in the same room? You might be onto something.

  13. “Man has different beliefs than father and grandfather” isn’t exactly a man bites dog story.

  14. Were they performing abortions at the time?

    Fwiw I agree that GHWB was the worst president in modern times. At least Nixon made peace China and ended the Vietnam war.

    1. Illegal in 30 states, severely limited in the other 20.

  15. Gandpa helps start a birth control society which later morphs into an abortion factory, so the grandchild can’t be opposed to the abortion factory because grandpa helped start a birth control society.

    Ms Dalmia. You really should look for a new line of work.

    1. And really, it we weren’t talking about politicians here, in a rational world it would speak volumes to a person’s integrity for them to want to eliminate a monster created by one of their ancestors.

      I suspect someone’s still got a bit of butthurt over yesterday’s ‘Colonialism, Net Gain or Net Loss?’ pushback.

    2. and she didn’t even play the Margaret Meade card…. wow.

  16. I guess there’s not much difference between financing the Nazis and Planned Parenthood.

    1. Well, they were both really into eugenics.

    2. Good record keeping, nice uniforms, a slavish devotion to protocols and a deep commitment to changing the world?

      1. And, a commitment to not waste body parts of any corpses they just happen to find lying around.

      2. Not to mention, an enthusiastic devotion to killing off any subhumans (Jews, fetuses, whatev) that they can.

    3. But more seriously, in ’47, what did Birth Control Federation actually *do*? What were its social functions, and what kind of resources were made available to its audience.

      I’m not even particularly interested in researching the history, but if the limit of its brief was handing out pamphlets, rubbers, tea and sympathy, and it walked the walk, why should anyone be criticized for being a board member. It’s not as though foundations don’t change their remit and mission with time. I’m pretty confident that the Ford Foundation didn’t start out by being the way the Ford Foundation is today.

  17. Well, in partial defense of the author, she isn’t really making an argument here so much as presenting an observation. If anything, she’s commenting that politician’s views on moral issues might be influenced by electoral math.

    *flees from room before being struck with projectiles*

    1. Maybe she’s being paid on word count then.

      There’s been a lot less interference from Tony and the normal channel commentary trolls. Maybe the editorial staff just wanted to keep us all on our toes by having the authors troll us for novelty sake.

  18. Does he also want to investigate the JFK Assassination that his father took part in?

    *Looks over shoulder and flinched at the sound of a black helicopter that no one else can see*

  19. Jeb Bush Wants to Investigate Planned Parenthood that his Grandfather Helped Found
    The Bush family’s “evolving” position on abortion

    Oh my goodness. His ancestor did something that his descendant is not passing off like his own creation? Tell me Shikha, how much does he owe in reparations?

    I’d be interested to hear what political positions your great-grand father Dalmia held, or actions he took and then excoriate you for them. And maybe even call you a hypocrite for not living up to his worldview.

    1. Isn’t the concept of an ‘evolving position on abortion’ an oxymoron for a faith-based Believer?!
      Wouldn’t their positions have been born whole and unchanged something like 6000 years ago?
      How could they possibly ‘evolve’?!

  20. “Recall that contraceptives were controversial in those days”

    So was Eugenics, which was a significant part of the ideas of the most prominent founders.

  21. By the way, it’s extremely intellectually dishonest, even for a fake libertarian piece of shit, to lump in birth control and contraception together with unlimited abortion on demand.

    It’s completely legitimate and not in the least bit inconsistent for a person to support unrestricted legal contraception and yet not support unlimited abortion on demand. And in fact millions of perfectly normal people hold this viewpoint.

    1. Federally subsidize abortion on demand.

  22. I suspect that you could recast this article as:

    The Bush family has always supported birth control, and never supported abortion on demand.

    Talk about a dog-licks-balls story.

  23. The only thing that might be damning is that GHW Bush likely changed his mind on abortion for poltical reasons (ignoring that the political dynamics of the issue changed radically following Roe to the situation we have today, with the courts enforcing a virtually unlimited right to abortion that does not allow for the issue to be considered as a conflict of rights), and that may suggest GW and Jeb stance are influenced by political consideratins as well.

    Of course Jeb also converted to Catholicism so that might have some influence,…oh wait, Dakmia is not cool with apostasy from your ancestor’s religion either.

  24. Yep, Jeb’s almost as bad at his respective position as Dalmia is at hers. They should both be put out to pasture.

  25. Dear Reason editorial staff, the pointlessness of the story aside, consider the non-quoted word count/original material of Dalmia’s article: less than 200 words.

    Within said story an embarrassingly sizeable amount of the content is comprised of these few word: Bush, planned, parenthood, he, the, they, is, and,….basically the writing style and sentence structuring of a middle school student. Lazy prose makes for unfulfilling reading.

    1. “This blog post was mostly a quote from another article” manages to be an even less interesting and damning observation than “Jeb Bush’s grandfather had different beliefs than Jeb Bush does”.

      1. Not just another article, a fucking ten year old article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

  26. I love the smell of universal condemnation of Dalmia in the morning afternoon

  27. But where does he stand on fetal polygamy ?

  28. Can I get that new world with a side of fries and special sauce?

  29. What’s the point of this article? Did the writer use all these words to describe a family, like many families, where members disagree with the politics of others? Why not write an article about all of the folks, currently in politics, who had grandparents that believed in segregation, or — worse yet — had ancestors to whom slave ownership can be traced. I mean, just in the name of “being fair,” right?

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