Jeb Bush: Don't Shut Down Government Over Planned Parenthood

The former Florida governor says the move wouldn't bring about the desired result.

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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks to the media on Sept. 1, 2015, in Miami.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Sunday warned that shutting down the federal government “will have no effect on funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Moreover, Bush signaled his disapproval of the tactic, promoted by some Congressional Republicans, of shutting down the federal government unless a forthcoming spending bill strips funding for Planned Parenthood. 

“That's not the way democracy works,” the former Florida governor said, appearing on Fox's Fox News Sunday. “It’s better to elect a conservative president who pledges to do it and work with Congress.” 

The looming Oct. 1 deadline to pass legislation that will keep the government open comes as House Speaker John Boehner prepares to resign from his post. Calls to defund the women's health organization and abortion provider have grown louder following the release of a series of undercover videos over the summer that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the idea of selling fetal tissue to medical research companies.

On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina did not explicitly call for a shutdown, but did call for action in defunding Planned Parenthood. (Bloomberg Philanthropies provides financial support for the organization.)

“I believe there are a variety of ways to deal with this,” Fiorina said. “I believe this is something we must stand up and fight for because it is about the character of our nation.”

Fiorina's strong debate performance earlier this month has vaulted her toward the top of the polls, and included an impassioned speech about medical research on fetuses. 

The push to defund Planned Parenthood has also been championed by government shutdown veteran Texas Senator Ted Cruz, although he has deflected the idea that he and other Republican lawmakers would be shutting down the government if they refused to pass legislation that didn't strip funding from the organization. 

“We can expect President Obama and many of the congressional Democrats to cry loudly that if Congress uses its authority, Congress will be quote 'shutting down the government.' That, of course, is nonsense,” Cruz said in August, according to the Washington Post. 

Republican front-runner Donald Trump said in August that he would shut down the government over funding to Planned Parenthood. The other leader in the Republican field, Ben Carson, earlier this month called for lawmakers to stand up to Obama, who has said he would veto any bill that denies funding to the organization. 

“Congress needs to call his bluff on that,” Carson said, according to the Hill, though he did not specifically call for a government shutdown. 

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