by Steven Ertelt
February 14, 2007
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — Legislators in West Virginia are tackling a bill that would strengthen the state’s law requiring the notification of parents before an abortion can be done on a teenager. Under a new measure, abortion practitioners must provide reports about the abortions done on minors and could faces charges for failing to do so.
The measure is currently in the state Senate, which is expected to approve it, but pro-life advocates are concerned it could be defeated in the House.
The bill requires abortion practitioners to document the reasons for doing an abortion on a teen without parental involvement. It comes into play when abortions are done in sexual abuse cases and asks that a tissue sample be sent to state police to assist them in catching the perpetrator.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, and the two chairmen of the committees that will consider the bill in the Senate support the legislation. The Senate approved the bill last year but it died in the House.
"It generally passes the Senate by very wide margins," Melissa Adkins, legislative director for West Virginians For Life, told the Charleston Daily Mail. "We are focusing our efforts on the House."
The pro-life group talked about the bill and its support on its web site.
"Weaknesses in the law protect sexual predators who often use abortion to destroy evidence of their illegal activities," WVFL says. "In other states, including the neighboring state of Ohio, Planned Parenthood is under investigation for failing to report suspected sexual abuse. West Virginia’s law must be changed to protect those girls in abusive situations."
A key concern in the House is that Carrie Webster, the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is pro-abortion and opposes the bill. She told the newspaper she plans to give the bill a fair hearing if it reaches her panel but she has serious reservations about it.
Margaret Chapman, executive director of WV Free, a pro-abortion group, told the Daily Mail her organization is hoping the House kills the measure.
West Virginians for Life is hoping to help the bill by holding its Annual Pro-Life Rally and Day on February 21 at the legislature.