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
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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.