Gov. Bobby Jindal, under whose leadership Louisiana consistently has been named the most anti-abortion state in the country, has dropped out of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Jindal on Tuesday appeared on Fox News’ Special Report to officially announce his decision to end his bid. “This is not my time,” Jindal explained during an interview with host Bret Baier. “I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time. So I’ve come here to announce that I am suspending my campaign for president of the United States.”
Jindal’s departure from the race comes as the candidate has consistently struggled to pull in the funds and support needed to make a serious run for the White House. At the start of October, Jindal’s campaign had just $261,000 left on hand. Polls consistently have found Jindal at the bottom of the pack, ranking around 1 percent for most of 2015, according to the Huffington Post’s Pollster, which aggregates polling from 212 nationwide polls.
The Louisiana governor rose to prominence due in part to a lift from his extreme anti-choice credentials. The anti-choice organization Americans United for Life (AUL) highlighted Louisiana as the most hostile state to abortion rights in the country six times in a row under his leadership—an award the candidate bragged about while on the campaign trail to boost his sway with conservatives.
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Jindal, speaking at the Right to Life Convention in August, criticized his Republican presidential rivals for not doing enough to speak out against abortion. “If we’re honest with ourselves, there are folks in the Republican Party who really don’t want to talk about life,” Jindal told the crowd. “You may have some folks who will come to this conference, folks even running for president who might wish for a few things and hope the press doesn’t write about it so they can get back to the issues they really want to talk about.”
Jindal’s reputation as an anti-choice extremist came after he and his administration spent years waging a war against reproductive health care in Louisiana. Jindal steadfastly refused throughout his tenure to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would have provided health care to an additional 242,150 uninsured low-income Louisiana residents.
In August, Jindal moved to cut funds from the program to Planned Parenthood clinics. Although the measure was ultimately blocked by a federal court, the move nonetheless endangered care for the 5,200 Louisiana Medicaid recipients who rely on the clinics to provide cancer screenings, contraceptives, and other reproductive health care.
As governor, Jindal signed into law a series of other anti-choice measures meant to further roll back access to abortion services in the state, including telemedicine bans, forced ultrasounds, mandated counseling and waiting periods prior to abortions, and a 20-week abortion ban.