West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin defended his recent vote against an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood with a claim that tax money doesn't go to pay for abortions.
The incumbent Democrat who's facing a tough re-election bid against Republican Patrick Morrisey told MetroNews' "Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval" that he couldn't vote to take away funding from a clinic in West Virginia that "provides health care, preventative health care for women and mostly young females."
"I am pro-life, and I think everyone knows," Manchin said during the interview. "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."
Last year, Planned Parenthood received $543.7 million in federal funding and grants, which amounts to nearly 40 percent of its revenue, according to its 2016-17 annual report. It performed 321,384 abortions between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, the report showed.
The Senate version of the amendment to an appropriations package failed 45-48 on Aug. 23 in the Senate. If passed, it would have stopped taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood and other providers that perform abortions.
What else did Manchin say?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who sponsored the amendment, said taxpayer funds are subsidizing abortions at a rate of more than 880 per day.
“Planned Parenthood received over $400 million of taxpayer money. The government with a wink and a nod tells us that Planned Parenthood doesn’t spend the money on abortions but everybody knows that the taxpayers are really cross-subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s abortion mills," Paul said in a speech last week, Townhall reported.
When asked about Paul's remarks, Manchin said Paul was wrong.
"As long as I vote 100 percent for the West Virginia people, and all people, I feel good about that," Manchin said. "And I’ve done my homework on this, Hoppy, and I cannot find one penny being used for abortions, and nor would I vote for one penny being used, public funds for abortions."
What do pro-life groups say?
“Pro-life West Virginians cannot trust flip-flopping Joe Manchin to stand up for unborn children. Senator Manchin claims to be pro-life, but he has a history of betrayal on important pro-life votes, including today when he once again voted in support of sending taxpayer dollars to America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood. His record is dramatically out of step with his constituents,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement following the Senate vote.
What did Morrisey's campaign say?
"Liberal Joe Manchin can't hide from his record of voting five times to side with pro-abortion radicals in Washington to send taxpayer dollars to the nation's largest abortion provider," Morrisey campaign spokesman Nathan Brand said in a release to TheBlaze. "West Virginians overwhelmingly do not want their tax dollars going to abortion providers, but liberal Joe Manchin has proven that he would rather side with pro-abortion Hillary Clinton and Washington liberals, than stand with West Virginians for the sanctity of life."