Jeb Bush, the pro-life former governor of Florida, announced today that he is running for the Republican nomination for president. Bush is known for signing pro-life legislation and a bill to try to save the life of Terri Schiavo.
During his announcement speech he stood up for the religious rights of pro-life advoates saying, “It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters.” The comment is a verbal shot at President Barack Obama who denied the religious liberties of pro-life people with the abortion mandate in Obamacare.
Following a second term for pro-abortion President Barack Obama, both political parties will have open nominations for their nominee. More than a dozen potential GOP contenders are either already running or plan to join the race.
During his time as the governor of Florida, Bush pleased pro-life advocates by signing bills to help Terri Schiavo and to limit abortions.
Earlier this year, Bush said he had no regrets trying to save Terri Schiavo’s life. He said he would not have handled the Terri Schiavo case any differently.
In 2003, Bush lobbied state lawmakers to pass Terri’s Law, which would have place a moratorium on deaths by starvation or dehydration and allow Bush to immediately order Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted. Tragically, even though the legislation passed the Florida legislature, it was later deemed unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.
At an event hosted by Saint Anselm College’s Institute of Politics Bush said, “I don’t think I would have changed anything. I stayed within the constitutional responsibilities or authority that I had. We changed the law first, and a year later it was ruled unconstitutional. Then basically, we didn’t have the ability to do anything. The federal government tried to intervene, and that was also ruled unconstitutional. So she starved to death.”
Bush added, “I think life is precious. It’s the definition of what kind of society we have. From the beginning to the end, there should be some respect.”
He concluded, “I feel sad. It was one of the most difficult things I had to go through. It broke my heart that we weren’t successful at sustaining this person’s life, so she could be loved by her mom and dad.”
Bush has been strongly pro-life on abortion and, earlier this year, prominent Christian attorney and advisor to Jeb Bush, Jordan Sekulow, said that Bush wants to defund Planned Parenthood. He said, “We have got to defund Planned Parenthood, by the way, and Gov. Bush supports those efforts.”
In May 2005, he signed a measure requiring abortion practitioners to tell the parents of a teenager girl when their daughter is considering an abortion. The measure was authorized by Florida voters who overwhelmingly approved a parental notification ballot initiative. Bush signed a similar law in 1999, but the Florida Supreme Court used the privacy clause in the state constitution to declare it unconstitutional. The amendment Florida voters backed 65-35 changed the privacy clause to allow for parental notification.
“This not only ensures the safety of our children, but also strengthens the family unit by maintaining open dialogue between parent and child,” Bush said about the bill.
Just days after he signed legislation requiring abortion businesses to notify parents when their teenage girls are considering an abortion, Bush signed a measure regulating abortion facilities. Saying he did so “gladly, with pride and conviction” Bush said he signed the bill “to create a culture of life in our state.”
Bush indicated the legislation was necessary because abortion facilities are exempt from regulations that cover physician offices, hospitals and other surgical centers.
“This is a simple bill that says women are deserving of the same quality care when they go to a doctor’s office or a hospital or, sadly, to an abortion clinic,” Bush said.
Supporters say Jeb Bush is more conservative than his brother and note that his wife, Columba, was born and raised in Mexico. He speaks Spanish and outreach to Hispanic voters is seen as one of the main ways Republicans can win the next presidential election after falling to Obama a second time.