FACT CHECK: Marino recycles debunked abortion attack
When the National Right to Life Committee opined that Pennsylvania’s new “high-risk” insurance pools could be used to cover almost any abortion, it set off a rash of Republican scorn that eventually forced the state’s insurance department to issue a statement assuring the new plans would keep taxpayer dollars away from non-elective abortions. At the same time, third-party fact-checkers on more than one occasion shot down GOP claims that the high-risk pools would use taxpayer dollars for abortions.
But that hasn’t stopped Republican Tom Marino from recycling the discredited attack line twice over the last couple weeks, as he seeks to build a case that his opponent, Congressman Chris Carney (D-10), isn’t sufficiently pro-life.
First, Marino said in a July 23 statement that was felt “deeply troubled to hear that taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions in Pennsylvania. This is only further evidence that the Executive Order that was signed by President Obama, and supported by liberals in Congress like Chris Carney, is a total sham.” And just this week, Marino’s campaign broadened its attack to criticize Carney for not co-sponsoring a bill that seeks to tighten abortion funding restrictions—a decision his campaign said came after “it was revealed that federal dollars would be used to pay for abortions in Pennsylvania.”
While Marino’s campaign is correct that Carney has yet to sign onto the measure, its argument that Carney “is not pro-life and has no problem spending taxpayers’ money for abortions” is not substantiated by the available facts.
It appears that, while Marino’s comments may have been more appropriate prior to the insurance department’s clarifications, later statements by officials have rendered the GOP line on the issue inaccurate.
Marino’s campaign insisted that its attacks are focused on the contention that loopholes existed to begin with.
“The fact that Carney voted for this legislation before that statement was made makes our point still very true and very valid,” Marino campaign spokesman Jason Fitzgerald said.
And Fitzgerald reiterated the campaign’s criticism of Carney for not cosponsoring the more recent bill to strength funding restrictions. Carney’s office said he had left Washington to be with his wife as she underwent surgery for breast cancer and was not in town when the bill was circulated last Thursday. Fitzgerald insisted that a memo asking for cosponsors was moving around Capitol Hill as early as July 22.
Carney spokesman Josh Drobnyk said the congressman supports the new legislation.
“My boss had already left Congress to be with his wife during her breast cancer treatments when that bill was introduced,” Drobnyk said. “He fully supports the bill and intends to join as a cosponsor.”
August 5, 2010 at 9:03 am