'This is not a theocracy': Joe Manchin shredded for supporting bill ending VA abortions for rape victims

'This is not a theocracy': Joe Manchin shredded for supporting bill ending VA abortions for rape victims
Image via Flickr.

United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) on Wednesday announced his support for a bicameral joint resolution drafted by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) and Representative Michael Cloud (R-Texas) that strips the Department of Veterans Affairs' authority to provide abortions to military service members under limited circumstances.

"Let me be clear: the VA's current policy is a blatant violation of federal law. I'm proud to join my friend Coach Tommy Tuberville today because we should not be using taxpayer dollars to provide abortion services," Manchin tweeted.

The VA states on its website that it "is able to offer abortion counseling, and—in certain cases—abortions to pregnant Veterans. Specifically, VA is able to provide access to abortions when the life or health of the pregnant Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest." The change came in response to the right-wing Supreme Court's 6-3 gutting of the landmark Roe versus Wade ruling last June.

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But Tuberville, Cloud, and their cosponsors have argued that the VA is in violation of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions.

"Using our VA medical facilities to provide publicly-funded abortions is an unconstitutional abuse of the system, and it will not be tolerated. No taxpayer should be forced to pay for abortion services that disregard the will of millions of Americans in states with legal protections for life, rightfully upheld by the Supreme Court last year. The interim final rule highlights this administration’s willingness to ignore the law and exploit limited federal resources to serve their extreme abortion agenda," Tuberville said.

Cloud added that "the Biden Administration continues to advance their radical abortion-on-demand agenda, this time through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to perform abortions is a clear abuse of the law and it forces taxpayers to fund abortions, something the majority of Americans oppose. I will always be a voice for the unborn and oppose taxpayer-funded abortions."

Manchin is thus far the only Democrat in either chamber of Congress to sign onto the measure, which was introduced in February and will be voted upon by the full Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

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Flanked by Tuberville and Cloud at a press conference, Manchin explained why he is joining the coalition to further limit Americans' reproductive sovereignty:

Since 1976, there's been a bipartisan consensus on the Hyde Amendment. When you think about abortion, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's in, it's in the political arena and it shouldn't be. It's a personal decision. People are very, very, uh, either, uh, their own, uh, beliefs, their convictions, whether it's, uh, their own personal convictions or their religious convictions. The Hyde Amendment was that protection. It was that buffering that we weren't forcing your dollars to be used for an abortion that you deeply, deeply, uh, disbelieved in.

So with that, that's been the law for quite some time. If this is to be changed, it should be voted upon. If the legislation that the president wants to do in this administration, then bring it before a piece of legislation, let's go through the process. To me that would be the proper way to do it and see if the public supports that and supports those of us who represent our public in what decisions we make. I've been very, very, uh, adamant about that. I said, you know, uh, I've always been supportive of, of, uh, of how we've handled the last fifty years of precedent law. Uh, and, and things have changed. The court system got involved. Now it's for the legislation and Congress to become involved if they want to. But you just can't arbitrarily do what they're doing by making a decision, executive decision is saying this is the new, uh, law that we'll be living by.

Reactions flooded social media, where observers noted that sexual assault is still a rampant issue within the armed forces.

oh (Ho): "Old Joe and Tommy are the last people on earth women want making their medical decisions. They sure never discuss the rape problem in the military. You and Coach Tommy are the last people in the world that should make a women's healthcare choice. They only cover in case of rape, incest and to save the mother. Why don't you rich boys talk about rape in the military?"

WhenPigsFly: "@Sen_JoeManchin knows all too well of the sexual harassment and attacks that go on in the military. Consider him a Republicon. @SenSchumer needs to remove him from the Committee on Energy and we need to make sure we have enough Senate Dems to cancel him out in case he switches."

Miss Katy: "Men need to sit down and shut up about what's good for women."

Glitter Girl*1111: "Two dudes deciding on what's right for a raped woman is so vulgar. I just can't."

Lydia-: "Joe Manchin is a Republican - a Trojan horse in the Democratic Party. Let's legislate men's reproductive healthcare."

P.E. Jemming: "This is not a Theocracy. Stop trying to enforce your religious dogma."

Bridget: "Let's please be clear this is reproductive health care for women who serve in the military. Shame on you."

Jared Ryan Sears: "Manchin is ok with teenagers signing up to the military, going to war, getting PTSD, losing limbs, dying. But when it comes to giving them proper medical care, well that is preposterous. That is how a government should treat their veterans... Utterly callous Mr. Manchin."

carol hicks: "You care nothing about life and prove it daily. When are you going to do anything that actually helps people? I haven't seen evidence of that."

Gail: "Freedom of religion means you get to have a religion, any religion. That is it. It does not mean you get to impose your religious beliefs onto the country, including a woman's medical choice to be pregnant or not."

Watch Manchin below or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Can't I be a moderate centrist?' Joe Manchin refuses to commit to a party if he runs for president

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