by Steven Ertelt
February 21, 2008
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — West Virginia’s pro-life group is concerned that state residents will have to continue paying for abortions with their tax money because a bill to prevent that appears dead for the session. As a March 8 deadline to approve bills approaches, the measure has yet to receive a hearing in either legislative body.
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.
The state is one of just 16 to do so.
The bill itself is probably dead, Melissa Adkins, the director of the pro-life group, told the Register-Herald newspaper.
Karen Cross, the group’s former director who now heads up the political department at National Right to Life, told the newspaper the organization isn’t relenting despite the gloomy outlook.
Were going to be here until midnight on the last night of the session. So were not giving up," she said.
According to 2006 figures from the state health department, West Virginia spent $350,000 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.
Under federal law, states are required to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother. But with such abortions accounting for just one or two percent of all those done, West Virginia is paying for unlimited abortion on demand, Adkins says.
The group hoped House Bill 3077 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.
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.
Related web sites:
West Virginians for Life – https://www.wvforlife.org