Joe Manchin Votes to Send Taxpayer Money to Planned Parenthood
The Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood failed 42 to 58 today.
All Democrats voted to keep federally funding Planned Parenthood, including self-proclaimed pro-lifers Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Of course, Casey and Nelson had already voted for Planned Parenthood funding in 2007 and voted for taxpayer-funding of abortion in Obamacare last year. Not so with Manchin. This was the first vote that really pits him against pro-lifers. He was a very popular governor, but this voting to send taxpayer money to a billion-dollar "non-profit" business that performs more than 330,000 abortions per year could come back to haunt him in his conservative state in 2012.
There were also five Republicans (as expected) who voted to keep Planned Parenthood's federal funding: Murkowski (Ak.), Snowe (Maine), Collins (Maine), Kirk (Ill.), and Brown (Mass.).
Will the issue lead to any of them losing to primary challengers? It already contributed to Murkowski's loss in 2010 to Joe Miller (lucky for Murkowski, Miller's campaign arrested a blogger and imploded). Pro-lifers may accept Brown, Snowe, and Collins as the best they can get from Massachusetts or Maine (so long as they vote for conservative judges and against Obamacare). Mark Kirk also comes from a blue state and has five years to worry about a primary challenge. but Illinois had a pro-life Republican senator as recently as 2005 and this vote could help a serious challenger gain traction.
I wrote yesterday on how pro-lifers have chipped away at Planned Parenthood since Mike Pence first introduced an amendment to defund them.