AP NEWS

No Constitutional right to abortion

October 20, 2018 GMT

This measure seeks to amend the West Virginia Constitution to clarify that nothing in the Constitution of West Virginia secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.

West Virginia has a law restricting access to Medicaid funding for abortion and a law criminalizing abortion that includes jail time for performing or receiving an abortion. Neither law is currently in effect due to federal and state court rulings that found them unconstitutional.

The amendment would add Section 57 to Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution to say “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” If Roe v. Wade were overturned, this amendment would ensure that the state’s constitution could not be used to allow abortions.

A “yes” vote supports this amendment to add this language to the state Constitution, while a “no” vote opposes this amendment to add the same language.

West Virginians for Life and the group “Yes On 1 WV” are leading the campaign in support of the initiative.

On its website, Yes On 1 WV argues that Amendment 1 is to return to the state legislature its appropriate responsibility for control over the funding of abortion. ”... following passage of Amendment 1, women in WV will still have access to abortions under the federal constitution, as always. No rights will be taken away, but Amendment 1 will prevent future judges from ‘finding’ in the state constitution either abortion rights or tax funding of abortions. Under Amendment 1, our tax dollars can be limited to paying for abortion only in the cases of a threat to the life of the mother, or in a medical emergency, reported rape and incest and fetal anomaly.”

“Vote No on 1 WV” is leading the campaign in opposition to the measure. WV Free, which describes itself as “the state’s leading reproductive health, rights and justice organization,” as well as ACLU of West Virginia, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia and Planned Parenthood are among those in opposition.

WV Free has called Amendment 1 “an unprecedented attack on women’s rights.”

According to “Vote No on 1 WV,” Amendment 1 is “a dangerous ballot initiative that could make abortion a crime in West Virginia — taking away a woman’s ability to get safe and legal care in our state.

“We believe that a woman should make her own decisions about pregnancy and family, and that people in our state should have access to health care. Amendment 1 would ensure that the West Virginia Constitution would not protect a woman’s right to end a pregnancy under any circumstances, including in cases of rape or incest, or when the health or life of a woman is threatened. However we feel about abortion, when a woman has decided to end her pregnancy, it is important she has access to safe medical care.”