During tonight’s debate, President Barack Obama attempted to differentiate between Republican candidate Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush. Among his claims, Obama said that Bush opposed cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, while Romney is calling for such funding restrictions.
The situation, though, is more complicated that Obama framed it. On the international front, Bush not only supported cuts to the controversial organization, but he actually took action — twice — to place restrictions on federal funds going to Planned Parenthood. LifeNews reports:
“Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into voucher,or defund Planned Parenthood. Romney’s gone to more extreme place,” Obama claimed.
However, President George W. Bush during his first days in office, cut taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.
In 2001, Bush issued a memo ensuring that the Mexico City Policy prohibited the USAID agency from funding pro-abortion groups. The pro-life Mexico City Policy, first instituted during the Reagan administration, prohibits the federal government from giving taxpayer funds to international organizations that perform or promote abortions in other countries, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Not only did Bush initially cut Planned Parenthood funding immediately after entering the White House, he cut it again in 2003 — issuing a memorandum to the State Department expanding his Mexico City Policy.
While domestic programs covered by the organization weren’t the focus of Bush’s policies, on an international front, he did, indeed, make cuts to Planned Parenthood. In fact, the former president’s funding restrictions impacted the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which the American branch of the organization helped to found.