Joe Manchin claims to be “pro-life” but wants Hobby Lobby case reversed


But not Senator Joe Manchin.

The West Virginia Democrat claims to be “pro-life” yet look at the statement he released in support of a Senate Democratic plan to reverse the Hobby Lobby decision:

“Today, I voted in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that ruled for-profit companies can opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees because of religious beliefs. As Governor and U.S. Senator, I have always fought to protect the sincerely-held religious views of non-profit organizations, like soup kitchens, colleges, hospitals and similar non-profit organizations. However, for-profit corporations do not have the same legal privileges as non-profits, and therefore they should not have the same protections as non-profits recognized by law as being a religious organization. This legislation strikes a balance between allowing non-profit organizations to hold onto their religious views while ensuring that Americans have access to safe, affordable and reliable preventative health benefits.”

So while Manchin has voted our way a few times, make no mistake: He supports President Obama’s notorious HHS mandate, which forces businesses to pay for abortion pills, sterilizations, and contraception — even if they have a moral objection to paying for it.

Doesn’t sound “pro-life” to me.

Is Joe Manchin better than fellow Democratic Senator, Jay Rockefeller? Of course, he is. But that doesn’t mean Manchin should be called “pro-life.”

Shelley_moore_capitoAnd here’s a wrinkle: Rep. Shelley Moore-Capito is a Republican from West Virginia. She is the heavy favorite to win the Senate seat from Rockefeller, who is retiring this year. Moore-Capito unfortunately has long been member of Republicans for Choice (thus ineligible for a CatholicVote endorsement).

Yet Moore-Capito said she supported the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision: “I believe the decision was based on a firm belief in our constitution of religious freedoms. I think we should protect religious freedoms.”

Moore-Capito also voted to repeal Obamacare. And somewhat surprisingly, Moore voted in favor banning abortions after 20-weeks. For someone claiming to be pro-choice, she’s cast some votes that would make Planned Parenthood very upset.

Is she casting these votes to placate conservatives, only to double-cross us later or will she stick to her previous votes on Obamacare and the 20-week abortion ban? Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I won’t be surprised either way.

Even if she wins her Senate seat this November, the number of Senate Republicans who profess to be “pro-choice” will be smaller than it was just 15 years ago.

So does this mean Moore-Capito is pro-life (and Manchin is not)? No. Of course not.

Despite the fact that each of them have cast some votes our way, neither should be considered pro-life. And that’s why we should push back at Manchin for claiming to be pro-life. We simply can’t take a politician’s claims at face value.

As for West Virginia, let’s work to build up the farm team so we have better candidates in future years. In a pro-life state like West Virginia, we shouldn’t have to settle for either Manchin or Moore-Capito.

CatholicVote took our first step toward that goal by endorsing Alex Mooney for Congress in WV-01. Let’s help him win this November.



The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Joshua Mercer is a co-founder of, where he serves as Political Director. Mercer is also regular contributor with Catholic Pulse. Mercer previously served as Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register and Chairman for Students for Life of America. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.

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