Jenkins, Morrisey trade comments over pro-life stance

PARKERSBURG — The campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia racheted up a notch last week.

Evan Jenkins and Patrick Morrisey are hurling accusations over each’s pro-life position, each questioning whether the other stands with the party against abortion.

Jenkins, the U.S. representative from the Third District, sent a letter Wednesday to the West Virginia Republican Party that said Morrisey opposed a constitutional amendment reversing Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion-on-demand while he was a candidate for Congress in New Jersey. He asked the party to renounce Morrisey’s pro-abortion position in New Jersey.

“In a New Jersey congressional race in 2000 — the only other time has ran for federal office — Patrick Morrisey opposed a constitutional amendment protecting unborn babies from abortion, running in open defiance of a key plank in the Republican Party platform,” Jenkins said in the letter.

Morrisey, the attorney general of West Virginia, on Thursday said Jenkins was spreading falsehoods abou his commitment to the pro-life movement.

“These attacks are all the more troubling because they are an attempt to cover up Evan Jenkins’ many years as a proud Democrat, in which he supported the pro-abortion movement,” the Morrisey letter said. “In 2003, then-state Sen. Evan Jenkins supported two openly pro-abortion nominees to the West Virginia Board of Medicine. The first, Pat Hussey, was famous for opposing the Catholic Church’s stand on abortion, and was rejected by the Senate 29-5. Jenkins was mong the five to vote for her. The second, Delegate Mary Pearl Compton, was similarly rejected a few months later.”

Jenkins and Morrisey are among the candidates running for the Republican Party’s nomination. Incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for re-election.

“Jenkins also supported giving taxpayer dollars to groups that fund and support abortion, like Planned Parenthood. In a 2006 Project Vote Smart survey, Jenkins refused to oppose this appalling use of taxpayer funds,” Morrisey said.

“Sadly, Evan Jenkins has a history of switching positions and parties when it’s politically convenient,” Morrissey said. “First, he was a liberal Democrat, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and a Joe Manchin fundraiser, and now he wants us all to believe that he will proudly carry the conservative flag for West Virginia.”

Jenkins said he has a 100 percent pro-life voting record in the House of Delegates and the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It doesn’t mean much to say you’re against abortion if you oppose the only policy proposal to end it. The Republicans who have shared this with me — some of whom had previously supported Morrisey’s candidacy — were completely unaware of this information and feel betrayed,” Jenkins said in his letter. “To their knowledge and mine, Patrick has not reversed his opposition to the Human Life Amendment, thereby remaining at odds with our pro-life platform.”

Morrisey said he would support a constitutional amendment banning abortions.

“It is up to Republican primary voters to choose whether they want a senator with a life-long Republican record, or a former Democrat who supported taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood and has never explained why he held that position,” he said.

(Mancini can be contacted at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com)

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