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FACT CHECK: Marino recycles debunked abortion attack

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.

Both and PolitiFact found the claim that Pennsylvania’s high-risk pool would use taxpayer funds for any legal abortions to be wanting (PolitiFact called it “simply untrue”).

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

--John Manganaro

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comments [6] | post a comment

  1. KG

    Aug 5th, 2010

    I guess the Marino folks have got to try something. Carney is popular, talented, intelligent, personable, and he represents the district very well. Plus he’s a good fundraiser.

    I feel bad for Mr. Marino, but I just can’t get past the fact that the GOP courted Congressman Carney to switch parties even AFTER Mr. Marino had expressed an interest in the race.

  2. Concerned PA-10 Voter

    Aug 5th, 2010

    I am outraged at the fact that Tom Marino would attack Chris Carney on this issue. He held out on voting for the Health Care Act until it was clear that abortions would not be federally funded. Congressman Carney also says that he will co-sponsor and and vote the bill. From what I can see Congressman Carney is sticking to his stance of being a pro-life Democrat. What really gets me going is the fact that he would call out the Congressman for not being in Washington because he was with his wife who has Breast Cancer. I have dealt with cancer in my family and know the struggles a family goes through during and before treatment. I can not believe Tom Marino would sink to this new low. The person I want representing me in D.C. to have family values and I do not see any in Tom Marino after this selfish typical political act. Tom you have lost my vote.

  3. DaveB

    Aug 6th, 2010

    In July 2010, the Congressional Research Service found that Obamacare did indeed allow federal funding for abortions through high-risk pools created and entirely funded by the federal government. The Executive Order doesn’t prevent abortion funding through high-risk pools.

    When New Mexico’s high-risk pool made it possible to get an abortion on demand, the public outcry caused the federal government to set stricter guidelines, allowing abortions only in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. The rules in Pennsylvania also seem to allow for federally funded abortions, though the administration and the state claim the problematic language is just a “placeholder.”

  4. Andrew

    Aug 6th, 2010

    The National Right to Life Committee accurately blew the whistle on abortion funding in the high risk pools in several states including PA. This article mischaracterizes FactCheck.Org’s findings. Read it for yourself here:

    Marino is exactly right. Until the Obama Admin was called out on it- the high risk pools did fund abortions. But only until NRLC blew the whistle were steps taken to prevent it.

  5. NE PA

    Aug 6th, 2010

    Desperation is a stinky cologne. I can smell it all over the 10th District Mr. Marino.

  6. […] later alleged that Carney “has no problem spending taxpayers’ money for abortions” and that […]

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