Barbara Pierce Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, will deliver the keynote speech at a luncheon for Planned Parenthood in Texas on Wednesday, February 29. If that leaves you scratching your head because her father opposed abortion during his time as president and the governor of Texas, let us break it down for you.
Barbara has been outspoken about her support of Planned Parenthood and women's health. Not only has she expressed the importance of organizations like Planned Parenthood, but she also attended a Hillary Clinton fundraiser last October.
The Texas Tribune reports that the luncheon will raise funds for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, which provides reproductive and health services, abortions included. But this isn't the first time that Barbara and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards have come together for women's health. In 2016, the two sat for an interview with the New York Times to discuss their initiatives for women's health around the globe and their Texas roots.
Barbara is the CEO and co-founder (along with her sister, Jenna, and more) of Global Health Corps. The nonprofit organization works to "mobilize a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity" and promote the principle that "health is a human right." During her Times interview, Barbara called Planned Parenthood an "exceptional organization." According to the Texas Tribune, Global Health Corps has partnered with several Planned Parenthood branches. Along with Richards, Barbara noted that healthcare is not a partisan issue.
Their connection runs even deeper than that. Both Barbara and Richards are Texans and come from political families. In fact, Richards' mother, Ann, was governor of Texas from 1990 until 1994, when Barbara's father took over. George W. Bush challenged many women's health initiatives during his time as governor of Texas and president of the United States, although former first lady Laura Bush supports the right to choose. Laura Bush told Larry King in an 2010 interview abortion should "remain legal, because I think it's important for people, for medical reasons and other reasons."
Although Mrs. Bush did not speak publicly about her beliefs while her husband was in office, she likely had an impact on the views of her daughter, Barbara.
Wednesday's fundraiser comes at a critical time for Planned Parenthood. In December, Texas lawmakers finalized plans to pull funding that the organization received from the state's Medicaid program.