by Steven Ertelt
March 8, 2006
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — A measure that would make it tougher for teenagers to get an abortion without first getting parental permission appears dead for the session. After a House committee failed to approve the Senate-passed bill, pro-life lawmakers were not successful in getting enough votes for a parliamentary motion to pull it from the committee.
House members voted 62-37 against a discharge petition that would have pulled the bill from the House Judiciary Committee for a debate and vote on the House floor.
Many lawmakers traditionally vote against any discharge petition because they want the committee process to be respected. But pro-life advocates are upset that many pro-life legislators refused to support the measure, which the Senate approved and has the support of the governor.
Delegate Brent Boggs has presented lawmakers with 20,000 signatures from state residents who support the measure, according to the Charleston Gazette and he decried the vote.
"I believe that it’s going to disrupt the process to the point where we have no cooperation down the road," said Boggs, a pro-life Democrat. "It’s going to make things very, very bitter."
West Virginians for Life, the influential pro-life group in the state told lawmakers in a memo that it would count the vote and report it to its supporters, the Gazette said.
"It will be difficult to explain to the more than 250,000 identified pro-life West Virginians why such common sense legislation died in a supposedly pro-life body," the memo said.
Normally, only a court can 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.
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.
The bill drew opposition from abortion advocates and the state Medical Association.
Gov. Joe Manchin had said he supported the bill, previously saying, “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.
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.
Related web site:
West Virginians for Life – https://www.wvforlife.org