by Steven Ertelt
January 16, 2008
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — The leading pro-life group in West Virginia is again tackling the state’s policy of paying for abortions for poor women with taxpayer dollars. West Virginians for Life has repeatedly criticized the fact that the state has used public funds to pay for abortions for poor women since a court overturned a previous funding ban in 1993.
WVFL executive director Melissa Adkins says the state is one of just 16 that use public funds to pay for abortions.
According to 2006 figures from the state health department, West Virginia spent $400,000 to pay for 798 abortions and most of them were likely elective abortions outside of the hard cases such as rape, incest or protecting a woman’s life or medical health.
The group is working with lawmakers to promote House Bill 3077, which would prohibit the use of taxpayer funds in abortions.
Adkins talked with the Charleston Daily Mail about the bill and said it would do more than many other pieces of legislation to reduce the number of abortions in the state. Previous studies have shown that stopping taxpayer-funded abortions significantly reduces the abortion rate.
She said she expected another battle from West Virginia Free, the state’s pro-abortion group and is worried that the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by abortion advocate Del. Carrie Webster, a Democrat, will hold up the bill.
Adkins hopes the bill will get assigned to the House Finance committee where it may have a better chance at getting approved.
The pro-life group tried to ban taxpayer funding of abortions years ago and got a bill through the state legislature. However, the state Supreme Court ruled 3-2 in 1993, in what is known as the "Panepinto Decision," that the law is unconstitutional.
The group has been waiting for the makeup of the state’s high court to change so it could try again.
"The federal government requires that we pay for abortions for rape, incest and life of the mother, yet you are forced to pay for abortions for any reason, even as a method of birth control," the pro-life group says in supporting the bill.
Related web sites:
West Virginians for Life – https://www.wvforlife.org