by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 21, 2006
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — The Governor of West Virginia says he would support a measure that would strengthen parental notification for abortions for teenage girls. Supporters of the legislation have collected more than 20,000 signatures on petitions in favor of the bill.
At a rally of pro-life activists at the Capitol, Gov. Joe Manchin was introduced as a “friend of the pro-life movement for many, many years.”
Manchin said, “Our state is very family oriented. In a strong family, you want to be involved. As a parent we should be involved.”
Under current West Virginia law, parents must be notified 48 hours before an abortion if their daughter is under 18 and has not yet graduated from high school.
But health care providers can sign waivers permitting teen abortions without parental consent in certain circumstances. The current legislation would eliminate that provision.
In addition, the bill would require parental notification on all teen abortions, even if the girl has graduated high school. An abortion could only be permitted without parental consent if a family court judge authorized it.
Performing an abortion on a minor without parental consent would be made a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Abortionists would also have to sign an affidavit certifying what they did to verify the age of young women over 18.
Abortions could be performed on a teen in case of risk of death or serious permanent injury, but parents would have to be informed within 24 hours.
Advocates of legal abortion are opposing the West Virginia legislation.
More than 2000 abortions were performed in West Virginia in 2002, and more than 120 of those were performed on girls under 18 according to the state registrar of vital statistics. Meanwhile, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, says that a dozen other states require some type of parental notification.
West Virginia has the seventh-lowest abortion rate in the country.
Meanwhile, Gov. Manchin is determined to reduce abortions in his state. Last year, Manchin said that, for him, being pro-life isn’t just a smart political message in a pro-life state, but a matter of core values.
“Everyone’s trying to find their message that will resonate and make people want to vote for them,” he said. “I said, ‘Be who you are.’”
West Virginians for Life: https://www.wvforlife.org