Republican candidates including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will likely discuss Planned Parenthood during the first GOP debate on Thursday night, and are expected to spew the same anti-women rhetoric they've been adopting as part of their platform. But then how do you explain the numerous donations made to Planned Parenthood in their honor? Oh, right — they're being trolled, and brilliantly. People are donating to Planned Parenthood in honor of GOP candidates who have been the most outspoken against the health organization. The tactic is twofold: Not only are these real monetary donations that will go toward Planned Parenthood, but they're also a metaphorical middle finger to PP's biggest opponents, and that's priceless.
It all started on Tuesday evening, after Jeb Bush glibly told the Southern Baptist Convention, "I'm not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women’s health issues." His cold and casual comment prompted someone to make a $25 donation to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains "in honor of Jeb Bush." The sly move caught the attention of Mike Monteiro, a graphic designer and social media rabble-rouser, who then encouraged his nearly 53,000 followers to donate in other Republican candidates' honors. And that's exactly what they did.
The Washington Post reached out to Planned Parenthood to get the breakdown of politicians who were making proxy donations, and here's the ranking from most to least donations:
- Ted Cruz
- Marco Rubio
- Rand Paul
- Bobby Jindal
- Joni Ernst
- Jeb Bush
- Donald Trump
- Mike Huckabee
- Rick Santorum
If you're wondering why these particular Republicans made the list, here's a refresher on how they've each opposed Planned Parenthood.
Just ahead of the Senate's vote on defunding Planned Parenthood, which ended with a 53-46 victory for PP supporters, Ted Cruz said this to reporters:
I believe we should use every and any procedural tool available to defund Planned Parenthood.
He has also called the health organization, which provides millions of women with cancer screenings and STD testing, a "criminal organization."
Marco Rubio, who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, had the audacity to use Cecil the Lion to slam Planned Parenthood, tweeting:
Somewhere, in a better place, Cecil is thinking, "Leave me out of this, Rubio."
The failed attempt to defund Planned Parenthood was the brainchild of Rand Paul, who, along with a few other Republican opponents, introduced an amendment that would have stripped the health organization and its associates of federal funding.
When the bill to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood failed, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took matters into his own hands and cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood in his state. He released this statement following his decision:
In recent weeks, it has been shocking to see reports of the alleged activities taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country. Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life. It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.
Though she may not be a candidate in the 2016 primary, Joni Ernst made the list because she was one of the drafters of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. In response to the extremist-made attack videos on Planned Parenthood, Ernst issued this statement:
As a mother and grandmother, I find this footage of Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies morally reprehensible and vile. Simply put, this legislation ensures that funding for women’s health is protected and that taxpayer dollars will not go to Planned Parenthood.
Besides his flippant remark on spending for women's health issues, Jeb Bush also said at the Southern Baptist Convention, "The next president should defund Planned Parenthood." It seems that he's already made moves to do so in his state. The Huffington Post unearthed a St. Petersburg Times report from 2003 that revealed Bush had diverted funds for Planned Parenthood to abstinence-only education programs.
Proving once again that he's full of absolutely terrible ideas, Donald Trump suggested shutting down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood.
Mike Huckabee has been fighting to defund Planned Parenthood long before the recent videos about fetal tissue emerged, as this Facebook post from 2013 shows. In addition to asking followers to sign a petition, Huckabee wrote:
We must make clear to Republican Leaders that pushing to fully eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood is a grassroots priority for millions of Conservatives across the nation.
Like Rubio, Rick Santorum also subscribed to the school of conflation by comparing Planned Parenthood to the Confederate Flag. Speaking on the Simon Conway Show, he actually said these words:
You want to go back and take down the Confederate flag? Let’s take down Planned Parenthood.
...before going on to say these even more ridiculous words:
If you want to scrub all racism from America, let’s start with Planned Parenthood because it was started by a racist named Margaret Sanger, who was a eugenist [sic], who was someone that believed in the separation of the races, someone that started Planned Parenthood for the purpose of culling out the undesirables, including blacks in America.