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ACLU of West Virginia speaks against bill interfering with minor’s abortion rights

By WENDY HOLDREN

The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia spoke out Monday against a bill that would restrict access to abortion services for young women.

House Bill 2002, which eliminates a doctor’s ability to bypass parental involvement in a minor’s decision to terminate a pregnancy, has been passed by the Committee on Health and Human Resources with amendments. It now awaits consideration in Judiciary Committee.

The West Virginia House of Delegates held a public hearing Monday for individuals and organizations to share their thoughts on the measure.

“HB 2002 places an undue burden on young women’s ability to safely exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to obtain an abortion,” said Joseph Cohen, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

Cohen said many young women are fortunate to have loving and supportive parents, and these teens usually include their parents in their reproductive health decisions.

“However, pregnant teenagers also come from troubled homes,” he continued. “These young women sometimes risk physical and mental abuse by disclosing to their parents that they are terminating a pregnancy. We should be most concerned with protecting these most vulnerable teens. HB 2002 would make it more difficult for young women who are at risk of abuse to safely and privately terminate a pregnancy. “

Cohen noted opposition of similar notification laws from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Public Health Association.

“The ACLU of WV calls upon the legislature to protect the privacy of young women. Protect their dignity. And protect their access to safe reproductive medical care.”

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