Jeb Bush Doesn't Think Women's Health Is Worth $500 Million

Even though the presidential candidate has issued a clarification for his words, it looks like the damage has already been done.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is drawing fire from both Democrats and pro-choice activists for a jumbled up comment regarding women’s healthcare.

The former Florida governor was discussing the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood – a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive, maternal and child health services – at the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, when someone asked him a rather lengthy question about the videos showing organization officials discussing fees for fetal tissues.

After vowing to defund Planned Parenthood should he be elected president, the presidential hopeful took it a step further and questioned the need to spend $500 million on women’s health services.

“The argument against this is, well … it’s a war on women and you’re attacking women’s health issues,” said Bush. “You could take dollar for dollar – although I’m not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health issues – but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine, federally sponsored community health organizations to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues. But abortions should not be funded by the government – any government, in my mind.”

His comment immediately drew attention of activists and campaigners – including Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton – who called out Bush for “attacking women.”

Watch: Jeb Bush Slow Jams The News With Jimmy Fallon

The backlash was so intense that the presidential candidate had to release a statement saying that he misspoke at the event.

“With regards to women's health funding broadly, I misspoke,” Bush clarified. “There are countless community health centers, rural clinics and other women's health organizations that need to be fully funded. They provide critical services to all, but particularly low-income women who don't have the access they need.”

He added that he was referring to the $500 million in federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood.

However, it looks like the damage has already been done. 

While the comments may have started a heated debate on social media, the Democrats have seized upon Bush’s gaffe to argue that he isn’t suitable for office.

“Jeb Bush is sure about one thing – he wants to restrict access to affordable healthcare for women,” said Kaylie Hanson, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee. “This backward ideology isn’t only the exact opposite of what women need from their next president – it could put the health of millions of women in jeopardy. Enough of this”

Watch the presidential candidate’s initial response in the video posted below:

This is also not the first time Bush has veered off script and said something controversial.

Not too long ago, at a town hall meeting in Tempe, Arizona, Bush suggested President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act can easily be replaced by technology such as the Apple Watch apps.

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