Joe Manchin Opposes West Virginia Amendment to End Taxpayer-Funding of Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 2, 2018   |   12:00PM   |   Washington, DC

Pro-life voters are growing increasingly frustrated with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin for not supporting an amendment to end taxpayer-funded elective abortions in West Virginia.

Manchin is running for re-election against solidly pro-life Republican Patrick Morrisey, who supports the amendment and, during a debate last night between the two, the Democrat said again that he will not support it.

The candidates were also asked for their positions on Amendment 1, an initiative that would end abortions and abortion funding in the state. Manchin said he would not be supporting the initiative, although he is anti-abortion, because it does not have exceptions for incest, rape or the life of the mother. Morrisey said he opposes any taxpayer funding for abortion, and accused Manchin of being on “both sides” of the abortion debate.

“This is another example of a dishonest Washington liberal who is talking about an issue,” Morrisey responded. “I’m clearly for Amendment 1. I oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.”

Manchin’s opposition to the pro-life amendment comes one day after he was exposed taking a photo with abortion activists from Planned Parenthood.

Earlier this month, pro-life advocates held a news conference outside Manchin’s Charleston campaign office to ask why he is not supporting Amendment 1, the West Virginia Gazette reports.

“We’re here to urge all West Virginians to vote yes on Amendment 1, which would stop taxpayer funding of abortion on demand and save the lives of 1,500 unborn children a year,” said state Delegate Kayla Kessinger, a pro-life Republican from Fayette.

She said voters have been “horrified” to learn the state has paid for elective abortions for more than 20 years.

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“They’re horrified that in 2017 alone Medicaid paid for 1,560 babies to be aborted and this isn’t slowing down,” she said.

On the November ballot, West Virginians will be asked if they want to amend their state constitution to stop taxpayer-funded elective abortions. Amendment 1 makes it clear that the state does not recognize abortion as a “right.” The amendment states, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

The amendment would make it easier for the state to pass pro-life laws, including a restriction on taxpayer funding for abortions. West Virginians currently are forced to fund elective abortions because of a 1993 court ruling.

According to West Virginians for Life, if Amendment 1 passes, taxpayers still would be required to fund abortions for Medicaid patients in cases of risks to the mother’s life, medical emergency, rape, incest and fetal anomaly.

Manchin’s refusal to support the measure may be a bad decision for his re-election campaign. Polls consistently show that most Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions. In October 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.

Manchin has a 33-percent pro-life voting record this session and 44 percent overall from the National Right to Life Committee. While he did vote to support a 20-week abortion ban, he also voted to continue giving tax dollars to the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood. He also was the only Democrat who voted to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sixteen other states also force taxpayers to fund elective abortions through Medicaid. Voters in Oregon and Alabama also will consider pro-life ballot measures this fall.