Vulnerable Senate Democrats, including pro-life Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, came under fire Thursday for helping defeat an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was defeated 45-48. Those voting against it included a slew of Senate Democrats locked in tight re-election races, including Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Jon Tester of Montana also voted against the amendment, which was seen as potential “poison pill” that could hold up approval of the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, denounced the Democrats for refusing to support the defunding measure.
“Vulnerable Democratic Senators have betrayed their constituents yet again by voting to fund abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and will be held accountable at the ballot box,” said Ms. Dannenfelser.
“Democrat Senators in states won by President Trump cannot get away with presenting themselves as moderates any longer, and self-proclaimed ‘pro-life’ senators like Donnelly and Manchin should be especially ashamed of caving to the abortion lobby and extremists in their party,” she said.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who’s challenging Mr. Manchin, blasted the Democratic incumbent’s vote.
“Sen. Manchin has again sided with abortion provider Planned Parenthood and the radical pro-abortion left, instead of standing up for the right to life and the unborn,” said Morrisey for Senate spokesperson Nathan Brand.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens offered a “huge thank you” to Senate Democrats and Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who also voted against the amendment.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, receives about a half-billion dollars annually in federal funding. Its 2016-17 annual report reported federal revenue of $543.7 million.
The proposed amendment “would not have prevented health care providers that do not perform abortions from continuing to receive federal funding for women’s health services,” said Mr. Paul’s office in a statement.
Clinics that stopped offering abortions would have been eligible under the amendment to have their federal funding restored.
“While I am disappointed in the outcome of this vote, I will never apologize for standing up for life,” said Mr. Paul afterward. “If it took exposing the preference of so many in my own party to continue reckless spending over protecting the innocent, it was a fight worth having.”