WEST VIRGINIA, August 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week’s failed vote on an amendment to deny federal tax dollars to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups left one of the Senate’s last so-called “pro-life Democrats” struggling to explain why he sided with the abortion industry.
The Senate voted 45-48 Thursday against an amendment introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, that would have forbidden any tax dollars flowing through the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, or Education from going to any entity that commits or finances abortions. The vote only took place after Paul denounced his own party's leaders on the Senate floor for attempting to block it.
Every Democrat senator present at the time voted against the amendment, including self-professed “pro-life” Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Manchin attempted to explain his vote Monday in an interview with the West Virginia radio program MetroNews Talkline, PJ Media reports.
“I've checked it inside and out with the Hyde Amendment,” he claimed, and concluded that tax dollars paying for elective abortions simply “can’t happen. It’s against the law.”
“Now, we have one [Planned Parenthood] clinic in the state of West Virginia, in Vienna. It provides health care, preventative health care for women and mostly young females,” the senator continued. “I can't look at them, Hoppy, and say, 'I'm sorry but because of me being [hunted] politically, I can't vote so that you'll have funding for the clinic.' I just can't do it.” Manchin did not mention that his state has more than 300 federally-qualified health centers and rural health clinics that could receive the aid instead of abortion business Planned Parenthood, which commits over 300,000 abortions annually in the U.S.
Host Hoppy Kercheval pressed him on Paul’s statement that “there is a co-mingling of funds by Planned Parenthood,” to which Manchin claimed that Paul “is just wrong.”
Federal law does forbid Planned Parenthood from spending any of the $543 million it received from taxpayers last year directly on most abortions. But pro-lifers warn that subsidies earmarked for non-abortion purposes ultimately enable abortion groups to commit more abortions by freeing up money from their other revenue services.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) notes that the $326.4 million increase in Planned Parenthood’s federal subsidies from 2000 to 2013 corresponds with a 66 percent increase in the number of babies it aborted, while Duke University healthcare analyst Chris Conover estimated in 2015 that taxpayers ultimately cover almost 25 percent of all abortion costs.
Manchin is up for re-election this fall, and SBA List is spending $785,000 to educate West Virginia voters about Manchin’s support for taxpayer funding of America’s largest abortion business.
“West Virginia is one of the most pro-life states in the nation,” explained SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Mountaineers want Sen. Manchin to step up and stand with them, not the radical abortion lobby. This multi-media campaign backs up our efforts to reach voters on the ground at their doors where our team is talking to them about Senator Manchin’s record. He is sadly out of step with the majority of West Virginians who don’t want any part in the abortion industry.”
This is not the first time critics have doubted Manchin’s allegedly pro-life credentials. In November 2017, he received widespread mockery and condemnation for holding an “I stand with Planned Parenthood” sign in a photo with a constituent. Despite voting to fund the abortion company, Manchin has also posed with a Students for Life of America sign proclaiming, “we don’t need Planned Parenthood.”
Other pro-lifers, such as Life Training Institute president Scott Klusendorf, argue that even sincere pro-life Democrats ultimately aid the pro-abortion cause because their party membership counts toward pro-abortion House Speakers or Senate Majority Leaders, who in turn set legislative priorities and give control of committees to pro-abortion lawmakers.
“I supported [Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois]. I took heat for it. He’s pro-life,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in April. “But we will have a pro-choice gavel when we win the Congress. We need to have at least 218 votes to achieve that.”