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George W. Bush's Daughter Addresses Planned Parenthood Fundraiser In Fort Worth

Khampha Bouaphanh
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Gabbie Walker protested at the annual Planned Parenthood luncheon at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth on Wednesday.

Barbara Pierce Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, spoke at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser Wednesday in Fort Worth. Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside to express disappointment in Bush’s involvement.

Only a handful of protesters showed up outside the Omni Hotel downtown. Jillian Ferguson is with the southwest division of Students for Life of America, a national youth organization opposed to abortions.

Ferguson said Barbara Pierce Bush keynoting the annual Planned Parenthood luncheon sends the wrong message -- especially as the daughter of a notable conservative, who consistently opposed abortion as president.

“Obviously we don’t expect Barbara Bush to hold the same ideals and beliefs as her father, but President George W. Bush was a very pro-life president and left a pro-life legacy,” Ferguson said. “So Barbara Bush speaking on behalf of Planned Parenthood, it sends a message that she supports what Planned Parenthood does, which is not about women’s health.”

Barbara Pierce Bush is the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Global Health Corps, which advocates for equal access to health care. She called Planned Parenthood an "exceptional organization" in an interview last year with The New York Times. KERA was not allowed into Wednesday's luncheon.

Ken Lambrecht is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, which put on the luncheon in Fort Worth. He said women’s health shouldn’t be politicized.

“We’ve provided thousands of women basic access to gynecological care, birth control, well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings,” he said. “Our core mission is to serve the poorest of the poor and to ensure basic health care access to women, men and teens.”

While Planned Parenthood provides a variety of services, it is also the single largest abortion provider in the country and has been under fire from Texas Republican legislators. A lot of those sentiments have been in response to secretly-recorded videos released in 2015 by groups opposed to abortion rights. Those videos have been called misleading and heavily edited.

A federal judge ruled last week that Texas could not cut off Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood.

Photo credit: Khampha Bouaphanh/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Former KERA staffer Stephanie Kuo is an award-winning radio journalist who worked as a reporter and administrative producer at KERA, overseeing and coordinating editorial content reports and logistics for the Texas Station Collaborative – a statewide news consortium including KERA, KUT in Austin, Houston Public Media and Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.