Democrats Manchin, Nelson Duplicitous on Planned Parenthood

National   Steven Ertelt   Apr 20, 2011   |   11:33AM    Washington, DC

Two Democratic senators who claim to be pro-life but voted against a pro-life measure that would have de-funded the Planned Parenthood abortion business are facing more criticism from pro-life groups.Manchin and Nelson joined every one of their fellow Democrats in the Senate last week in voting down a House-approved resolution that would have yanked taxpayer funding for the abortion business in the long-term budget Congress approved for the remainder of the year.

Today, the Susan B. Anthony List criticized Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Ben Nelson, for voting to send taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and then introducing a bill, the “Title X Transparency and Verification Act,” to ensure that the money isn’t spent on abortions.

The organization says the two are tying to have it both ways — by forcing taxpayers to fund the abortion business and then trying to make it appear they are ensuring money won’t pay for abortions — which is already the case under the Hyde Amendment.

“The actions taken by Senators Manchin and Nelson show exactly what’s wrong with Washington,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “They voted to immediately send tens of millions in taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and then sought to implement safeguards to ensure that the money isn’t being spent on abortion.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

“The reality that Senators Manchin and Nelson won’t admit is that money is fungible. Over a third of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes straight out of the pockets of the taxpayers,” Dannenfelser said. “Commonsense says this frees up money for abortion.  Data shows that the more taxpayer funding they receive, the more abortions they perform.  Beyond the fungibility argument, under current regulations, Planned Parenthood can use the tax dollars it receives to subsidize the facilities and staff used to perform abortions.”

Manchin said his “Title X Transparency and Verification Act” bill is needed to make public audits of Planned Parenthood to ensure the family planning funds don’t go to support or promote abortions.

“I believe there needs to be a strict firewall around the vital services that Title X funds provide – such as cancer screenings and family planning – so that those federal funds are never, ever used for a single abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest and life of the mother,” Manchin said. “We must do everything in our power to strengthen and protect that barrier.”

Manchin has already come under fire from his home state pro-life group for attempting to have it both ways on Planned Parenthood funding.

West Virginians for Life, upset that Manchin voted to fund the abortion business, called the legislation “irrelevant” and “a cover” for his vote.

“Pro-life West Virginians are profoundly disappointed in Senator Manchin’s April 14 vote to allow taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider,” said West Virginians for Life Communications Director Mary Anne Buchanan in a statement to LifeNews.

“Senator Manchin’s bill is meaningless,” Buchanan pointed out. “No one is saying that the Title X funds go directly to pay for abortions.  These funds to Planned Parenthood can be used to underwrite their infrastructure and promote their organization.  Manchin’s vote not to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood means our tax dollars will subsidize an organization in which nearly one of every eight women who walks through its doors has an abortion.”

“Manchin’s vote in support of Planned Parenthood is in opposition to the wishes of the people of this state,” she continued.  “Pro-life West Virginians who supported his election feel betrayed.”

Buchanan said the more important point in the debate is that Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the largest provider and promoter of abortions in the country, performing 332,278 abortions in 2009 and that it has mandated that all of its affiliates locally have one center doing abortions by 2013.

“PPFA has attempted to hide behind the notion that the money provided through federal funding is not used to directly perform abortions.  However, this is just an accounting gimmick.  Planned Parenthood uses the federal funding to keep their clinic doors open, pay salaries and utilities as the organization’s name and business in the community continues to be promoted,” she said.

ACTION: Contact Manchin at https://manchin.senate.gov/contact_form.cfm and Nelson at https://bennelson.senate.gov/contact-me.cfm