by Steven Ertelt
February 28, 2006
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — West Virginia lawmakers advanced a bill in a state Senate committee to make it tougher for teenagers to get an abortion without first getting parental permission. The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee on Monday supported a measure to disallow abortion practitioners from granting waivers.
Normally a court can only grant a waiver to a teenager who is concerned that getting permission for an abortion would lead to abuse.
The bill (SB519) would eliminate a provision allowing abortion practitioners to grant exceptions as well.
Melissa Adkins, legislative director for West Virginians For Life, said the intent of the legislation is to close that loophole which also allows abortion businesses to refer girls to pro-abortion doctors to sign waivers.
“We want to get these girls in a neutral setting, where someone doesn’t have a financial interest or political motivation,” she told the Charleston Gazette newspaper. “These are abortionists who sign these waivers."
The measure also strengthens reporting requirements and stiffens the penalties for those who perform abortions on minors without parental consent. Violators could face three to 10 years in prison.
Amy Tolliver, with the state Medical Association, said her group opposes the penalty section of the bill and Adkins said her group with work with the doctors organization to help work out a compromise that still drops the waiver.
Supporters of the legislation have collected more than 20,000 signatures on petitions in favor of the bill.
Gov. Joe Manchin supports it, saying, “Our state is very family oriented. In a strong family, you want to be involved. As a parent we should be involved."
According to the Gazette, the bill must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and be approved by the full Senate by the end of the day Wednesday to not be killed for the session.
Senate Health and Human Resources Chairman Roman Prezioso, a Democrat, said he agreed to hold hearings on the bill because he realized the House Judiciary Committee was not going to hear it.
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.
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.
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.
West Virginians for Life: https://www.wvforlife.org