Manchin may take low road on Planned Parenthood

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the time-honored tradition of political cowardice, don’t expect much from Sen. Joe Manchin today.

Senate Republicans will attempt to strip funding from Planned Parenthood in a vote today in a spending plan to finance the government beyond next week.

Judging by Manchin’s vote Aug. 3 to defund Planned Parenthood, we don’t expect him to flip-flop this soon.

Especially seeing how this re-run vote could echo into 2018, when his Senate seat will be on the ballot.

Yet, just four years ago, in still another attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, Manchin voted to continue its funding.

He said then, “At the end of the day, I could not in all my good conscious (sic), when I knew not one penny of your taxes was being used at Planned Parenthood to pay for abortions …I couldn’t tell the women who were dependent upon that health care, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t take a chance on giving you your health care.’ I just couldn’t do it.”

So, in all his good conscience, he not only has your back, but apparently can turn his back on you, too, depending on what ’s politically expedient.

Manchin’s change of mind this summer comes on the heels of the release of edited videos, secretly recorded by actors hired by an anti-abortion group.

The actors — posing as a fake biotechnology firm’s representatives —seek to acquire fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood officials, who allegedly profit from the deal.

Planned Parenthood has said it only receives the cost of collecting and delivering such donations. Furthermore, it alleges the videos were deceptively edited.

There are at least three congressional committees investigating the portent of these videos, plus probes in several states.

For Manchin to base his vote to defund this vital organization and put the health of tens of thousands of women at risk based on sound bites is outrageous.

We urge him to vote against any effort to defund this organization until there’s substantive evidence that it violated federal law or medical ethics.

Planned Parenthood has just one facility in West Virginia, which does not provide abortions but saw nearly 1,000 patients in 2014.

It does provide contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, life-saving cancer screenings and well-women exams.

To end these services tomorrow and expect other providers to step up immediately is ridiculous. Health care doesn’t take care of itself.

Manchin’s approach to this vote, much like some others he has dodged, smacks of caution, but ultimately derives from political fear he will hurt his chances of re-election.

Fear has its place. But putting such politics before people’s health, that’s cowardice and it has no use.

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