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.”
And 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.
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