Memo/Statement: Bobby Jindal and the race to the bottom on women’s health
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Erica Sackin, Director of Political Communications, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
SUBJECT: Memo/Statement: Bobby Jindal and the race to the bottom on women’s health
During his announcement speech, Gov. Bobby Jindal said: "We went from being one of the worst states to one of the best states." He's clearly not talking about women's health.
Under Bobby Jindal’s two terms as governor, Louisiana has had some of the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the nation; boasted one of the highest numbers of adults and adolescents living with HIV infections; has had one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation. Six in ten pregnancies in Louisiana are unintended.
Bobby Jindal has a clear agenda: eliminating evidence-based sex education and replacing it with ineffective abstinence-only programs; taking extreme measures to block women from accessing safe and legal abortion — even in cases of rape and incest; and gutting the preventive health care that the people of Louisiana rely on.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“It’s unfortunate that the GOP presidential nominating field has become a race to see who can promote the worst policies on women’s health.
“In Bobby Jindal’s seven and a half years as governor, Louisiana has seen some of the worst health conditions in the country. Jindal pushed through extreme measures to block women from accessing safe, legal abortion, even in cases of rape and incest; gutted funding for Louisiana's health care safety net; and comprehensive, evidence-based sex education continues to be banned under his administration. As a result, Louisiana has some of the nation’s highest rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, people living with HIV, and teen and unintended pregnancy.
“If this is Jindal’s plan for the nation, he has no business running for president.”
Louisiana under Bobby Jindal:
- In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies, Bobby Jindal’s home state of Louisiana is in second-to-last place for children’s health outcomes.
- In a state where there is already vast unmet need for women’s health care, Bobby Jindal has targeted abortion access while also threatening to cut millions from health care funding and extending limitations on sex education in the state.
- Louisiana has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation. Six in 10 pregnancies in Louisiana are unintended.
- Under Bobby Jindal’s watch, Louisiana ranks in the top three states with the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, and in the top 10 of people living with HIV infection among adults and adolescents.
Bobby Jindal’s positions on women’s health:
- Bobby Jindal wants to ban abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. He signed an invasive, government-mandated ultrasound bill into law that requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest victims. Jindal has continued to tack on additional burdens for women, including signing a bill that requires women seeking an abortion to be isolated in a private room and be given biased information, written by politicians, not doctors, about abortion services.
- Bobby Jindal’s administration tried to block the construction of a new Planned Parenthood health center in New Orleans by denying Planned Parenthood an operating license. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has since said that Planned Parenthood can move forward with its plans to build a new health center in New Orleans.
How do Jindal’s policies impact Louisiana women?
- In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, Bobby Jindal’s home state of Louisiana is tied for second in most abortion restrictions, and is in second-to-last place for children’s health outcomes.
- In 2012, 322,950 women in Louisiana were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act — which Jindal has pledged to eliminate — nearly 714,000 women in Louisiana now have access without a copay.
- Bobby Jindal has worked to eliminate publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood — without which the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth, and abortion would be 21 percent higher in Louisiana, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 31 percent higher. Bobby Jindal has refused to expand Medicaid in Louisiana, leaving the state with some of the highest uninsured rates in the South.
- Bobby Jindal has banned Planned Parenthood from providing sex education in Louisiana while also threatening to cut millions from health care funding. As a result, six in 10 pregnancies in Louisiana are unintended.
- Ninety-two percent of Louisiana counties have no abortion provider and under Bobby Jindal’s leadership, Louisiana has consistently ranked as one of the hardest states to access safe, legal abortion.
In Bobby Jindal’s own words:
- Jindal has said that he is “proud” that Louisiana was named the most pro-life state in the country. [Twitter, 1/13/15]
- Jindal has said that he is “100 Percent Pro-Life With No Exceptions.” When asked, “Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe an abortion should be allowed?” Jindal responded, “I am 100 percent pro-life with no exceptions.” [Times-Picayune, 9/20/03]
- Jindal compared bills that require women seeking abortion, even if they’re survivors of rape or incest, to listen to government-mandated option counseling to the Miranda rights read to criminals: “When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights,” he said. “Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.” [Think Progress, 7/7/11; HB 636, 7/6/11]
- In 1997 when Bobby Jindal was Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, he supported Louisiana’s move to fund after-school abstinence-only programs: Jindal said, "Sometimes teens have a lack of alternatives and don't know where they're going in life, and a child seems to fill the void." [The Journal Times, 7/6/97]
- Bobby Jindal has called abstinence “the most effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.” In 2008 he issued an executive order requiring the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Governor’s Program on Abstinence to promote abstinence-until-marriage programs in the state. [State of Louisiana Executive Department Order No. BJ 2008 - 21, 7/3/08]
- Bobby Jindal opposes the Affordable Care Act, which covers birth control without a copay, and has said, “We must repeal every single word of Obamacare.” [The Times-Picayune, 2/26/15]
About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.
If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].
# # #
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.