Jeb Bush Said Unwed Mothers Should Be Shamed

One of the risks of running for president — aside that you might actually get elected for president and have to fix what's been left by the last administration — is that embarrassing things from your past will be dug up and floated around. Luckily, Jeb Bush has no regrets about his horrifying statements on unwed mothers that surfaced last decade. Let me tell you something, Jeb. You should be embarrassed.

Bush's 1995 book, Profiles of Character, attempts to mansplain social ills. Here's a passage from the chapter "The Restoration of Shame":

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

If that sounds like some Scarlet Letter mess to you, it's because it sounded that way to Bush, too. Except he thought it was a good thing. The Huffington Post reported that Bush went on to write that "Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots."

MSNBC confronted him about this while he's gallivanting around Europe. Did you think that he would backtrack? Perhaps try and say, "Oh, it was different times then...blah blah blah." Nope:

My views have evolved over time, but my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of children hasn't changed at all. In fact, since 1995 … this book was a book about cultural indicators [and] the country has moved in the wrong direction. We have a 40-plus percent out-of-wedlock birth rate.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

And wait! It gets better! Bush put that awful theory into practice in 2001 when he allowed this bill to become law while he was governor of Florida: Unwed pregnant women who didn't know their baby's father had to publish their sexual history in a newspaper before giving the baby up for adoption!!! I hope all of you know that these are rage exclamation points!!!

So yeah, Bush didn't veto this law, that would literally require you to list a man's name and place where the kid could've possibly been conceived, because the bill sponsor assured him that the newspaper language would be fixed. It wasn't. Thankfully the law was challenged in court, and Bush eventually signed the law's repeal in 2003.

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