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‘Pro-Life’ Sen. Joe Manchin Can’t Defend Why He Voted to Fund 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
DR. SUSAN BERRY

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — who claims to be pro-life — struggled to explain why he voted against Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

The vulnerable Democrat, who is seeking re-election in November, was asked three times by MetroNews’s Talkline host Hoppy Kercheval to explain how a professed pro-life person like himself could vote to fund the abortion-industry giant.

“[Y]ou voted against an amendment that was offered by Rand Paul, from Kentucky, an appropriations bill that would stop tax payer funding of Planned Parenthood,” grilled Kercheval, adding:

Now, how can you continue to argue that you are pro-life when you voted against that amendment that would have stopped funding for Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions? I know—I know, I know that the money—I know that the money does not go specifically for abortions, but it does go to support Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the country.

Manchin responded by citing the Hyde Amendment – which most politicians refer to when they struggle to answer why they are funding Planned Parenthood.

“[T]hat’s not going to change anything,” Manchin said, continuing:

First … public dollars that go to abortions for Planned Parenthood. I’ve checked it inside and out with the Hyde amendment, it can’t happen. It’s against the law. Now, we have one clinic in the state of West Virginia, Vienna, that provides healthcare, preventative healthcare for women and mostly young females. I can’t look at them, Hoppy, and say, “I’m sorry but because me being hunt politically I can’t vote so that you’ll have funding for your—for the clinic.” I just can’t do it. But, I am pro-life, and I think everyone knows. Look at my record. I voted with Lindsey Graham on the 21-week ban on abortions, I voted for everything and so I could not take funding away when I knew the funding was not used for abortions. I don’t know how else to say it.

Kercheval then pressed Manchin on the concept of the fungibility of the taxpayer funds given to Planned Parenthood, i.e., taxpayer funds are helping to pay the salaries of abortionists and electric bills at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.

“Well, it—in that there is two things,” Kercheval said. “One is there is a contention by Rand Paul and others that there is a co-mingling of funds by Planned Parenthood and if you’re supporting, if you’re subsidizing Planned Parenthood then in a sense you’re subsidizing the abortion procedure because—because you’re propping them up.”

“He is just wrong,” Manchin said about Paul, protesting further:

We’re not propping them up. The money they get, I don’t know where the money gets, and people that support abortions are thinking that they should have abortions, and I’ve always said in case of rape, incest and life of mother should be the exclusions, but with that there’s not one penny—Rand Paul’s saying that he is wrong. If he has proof that there’s one penny of money that goes to Planned Parenthood for pre—for women who had preventative care, for women’s care, if he can find one penny, one dollar I’ll vote against Planned Parenthood funding. I couldn’t find—we have looked upside down—

A report released in March by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – a watchdog agency – found that federal and state taxpayers provided 41.5 billion in funding to abortion providers over a three-year period.

“All of us in the healthcare field took an oath to fight for life, and abortion destroys that,” Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), a nurse, said about the report. “Industry giants like Planned Parenthood perform more than 320,000 abortions every year, and this GAO report exposes that these atrocities are done at the expense of taxpayers.”

Kercheval persisted with Manchin that pro-life organizations oppose any funding for Planned Parenthood.

“So, if you want to be considered pro-life by them you need to oppose funding for Planned Parenthood—that’s how that works,” he grilled.

“Well I think it, Hoppy… 100 percent I vote with West Virginia,” Manchin insisted. “This didn’t make sense, it didn’t make sense. We have one clinic and they wanted me to vote taking money away from young females, and women, who get health care. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Manchin then appeared to complain about the “political atmosphere we have” in which pro-life organizations expect him to be totally committed to the pro-life cause if he claims to be pro-life.

“[I]ts just 100 percent, you’re 100 percent with whoever, whether it be Right to Life, lot of my friends there, I still feel very strongly, and I’m right to life and they know it,” he said. “But if you’re with the organization and heads of the organization, unless you vote 100 percent with them, and both sides are guilty, you know both 100 percent, you know, not gonna support you, not with you.”

Manchin and other vulnerable Democrats in the Senate voted against Paul’s amendment to an appropriations package that would have defunded 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.”

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.

However, Planned Parenthood remains under federal investigation by the Department of Justice for its alleged participation in fetal tissue trafficking.

Both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives conducted expansive investigations into Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical procurement industry. The investigations concerned allegations of profiteering from the sale of fetal body parts that arose from an undercover video series exposé by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).

The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

Based on its findings, the Judiciary Committee’s Majority Staff Report concluded that Planned Parenthood’s partners in the biomedical procurement industry paid the abortion chain’s affiliates for the body parts of aborted babies “and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.”

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