Presidential candidate Jeb Bush quickly walked back remarks about defunding women's health programs Tuesday evening, but not before he was hit by a stinging rebuke from fellow candidate Hillary Clinton.
Wading into a simmering debate over abortion funding, Bush said at the Southern Baptist Convention he would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, then wondered "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues."
Clinton quickly replied to Bush, saying he is "absolutely, unequivocally wrong" on the matter, linking to a reporter for The Guardian newspaper.
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As the first presidential candidate debate nears, 2016 hopefuls are continuing to point out their competitor's differences, and Planned Parenthood's funding has been at center stage in the last week. Anti-abortion activists released secretly recorded graphic videos that show officials of the group describing how they sometimes provide fetal tissue to medical researchers.
Abortion opponents say the recordings caught Planned Parenthood illegally selling the organs for profit, while Planned Parenthood officials — while apologizing for their workers' businesslike words — say they've abided by laws that let them recoup the procedures' costs.
“Jeb Bush didn't misspeak -- he told the rest of America what Florida women have known for years, which is that he doesn't believe women's health is worth much," said Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement.'
But another Republican candidate used, showing that the spat is already shaping up to be like other feuds between presidential candidates. Scott Walker tweeted his own dig at Clinton, saying she should be "ashamed" for supporting Planned Parenthood.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.