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Proposed constitutional amendment on abortion goes to WV House of Delegates

By Erin Beck

The Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A proposed amendment to the West Virginia Constitution that would state nothing within the constitution protects abortion rights now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, declares Senate Joint Resolution 12, aimed at amending the West Virginia Constitution to explicitly not protect abortion, passed after a 25-9 vote in the state Senate. Opponents warn the resolution could be used to deter arguments against future abortion restrictions.
KENNY KEMP | Gazette-Mail

The state Senate voted 25-9 Friday to pass Senate Joint Resolution 12, the “no constitutional right to abortion amendment,” which supporters hope will allow them to halt Medicaid funding of abortion in West Virginia.

The amendment would also prevent the state constitution from being used to argue against further abortion restrictions.

If it passes the House of Delegates with the two-thirds majority needed, it would then be placed on the ballot in November.

Supporters want to insert an amendment in the West Virginia Constitution that states: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

In 1993, West Virginia Supreme Court justices overturned a state law prohibiting Medicaid funding of abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother or fetus was not expected to survive. Justices found that the law discriminated against poor women.

Supporters of the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, hope it will allow for easier passage of another bill, currently in the House of Delegates, aimed at that Supreme Court decision. That bill, House Bill 4012, would ban Medicaid funding of abortion except to save the life of the mother.

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