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Joe Manchin and Other Vulnerable Dems Vote Against Defunding Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks during a Senate Energy Subcommittee hearing discussing cybersecurity threats to the U.S. electrical grid and technology advancements to maximize such threats on Capitol Hill on March 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and other vulnerable Democratic U.S. senators voted against Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment to a Senate appropriations package that would have defunded Planned Parenthood.

Manchin, in particular, has drawn the ire of pro-life conservatives because of his displays of support for both the pro-life movement and Planned Parenthood:

“Once again, Joe Manchin betrayed the values of West Virginians, voting to send their hard-earned tax dollars to the nation’s largest abortion provider,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Bob Salera. “When he’s back home, Manchin continues to try to fool West Virginians into believing he’s pro-life, but when he gets to Washington, he’ll always side with his Democratic Party bosses and the abortion industry.”

In August 2015, Manchin said he would vote to defund Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos alleging the sale of aborted baby parts for profit by the abortion giant’s top medical personnel.

“Like many West Virginians, I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in recently released videos,” Manchin said in a statement, according to the Hill. “Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization.”

Planned Parenthood is still under federal investigation by the Department of Justice for its alleged participation in fetal tissue trafficking.

However, in April 2017, Manchin posed with Planned Parenthood supporters and their sign that states, “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

As Axios reported, Jonathan Kott, Manchin’s communications director, said any signs the senator holds in photographs “bear no relation to his policy positions.”

“The senator will vote to fund Planned Parenthood because the investigations showed no evidence that the organization was selling or profiting from fetal organs,” Kott reportedly said.

“Sen. Manchin used to call himself pro-life, but this is the last straw,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), adding that her organization “will work tirelessly in the months ahead to make sure West Virginians know of this profound betrayal of the unborn and their mothers.”

SBA List’s field team of more than 500 pro-life canvassers has visited more than 1.4 million homes in West Virginia as well as in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, and Montana as part of an historic effort to educate and mobilize voters for the 2018 midterm election.

The pro-life organization has also launched a $785,000 TV and radio ad campaign against Manchin.

“In West Virginia we believe in the sanctity of life,” the narrator states in the ad. “But Sen. Joe Manchin voted to allow federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion business in the country.”

The national director of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone, also reacted to Manchin’s support for Planned Parenthood, telling Breitbart News, “West Virginians supported President Trump and will face a choice [in 2018] as to whether to re-elect Sen. Manchin.”

“We have already communicated through Priests for Life to all the churches of West Virginia that Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded and that they need to let Sen. Manchin know where they stand on this before they make their voting decisions in the midterm elections,” Pavone added.

Key Democrats representing states carried by President Trump in 2016 who voted against Paul’s amendment include Manchin and Sens. Doug Jones (AL), Bill Nelson (FL), Joe Donnelly (IN), Claire McCaskill (MO), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Jon Tester (MT). All except Jones are up for re-election this November:

“Vulnerable Democratic Senators have betrayed their constituents yet again by voting to fund abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and will be held accountable at the ballot box,” said Dannenfelser, adding:

Democrat Senators in states won by President Trump cannot get away with presenting themselves as moderates any longer, and self-proclaimed “pro-life” senators like Donnelly and Manchin should be especially ashamed of caving to the abortion lobby and extremists in their party. They have betrayed their constituents and will be held accountable at the ballot box.

Polling commissioned by SBA List shows that a majority of voters in 2018 Senate battleground states oppose giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood:

56% of voters in select Senate battleground states oppose taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood (47% strongly oppose)

60% would be less likely to vote for their U.S. Senator if he or she voted to give money to Planned Parenthood instead of community health centers that provide comprehensive women’s healthcare (44% “much less likely”)

“It is an enormous mistake both morally and politically for Sen. Manchin to side with Planned Parenthood,” Dannenfelser said. “In more than nine times out of ten, Planned Parenthood resolves pregnancy with abortion. They are clearly an abortion-centered, profit-driven business – yet taxpayers are forced to fork over nearly $554 million each year to their coffers.”

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