West Virginia Pro-Life Advocates Rally Against Tax-Funded Abortions at Capitol

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

West Virginia Pro-Life Advocates Rally at Capitol Against Tax-Funded Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 20
, 2009

Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — Hundreds of pro-life advocates rallied at the state capitol in West Virginia on Thursday to protest the state using taxpayer dollars to directly pay for abortions. The pro-life community has been working for years to stop the practice, which most state residents find abhorrent.

West Virginians for Life sponsored the "Rally For Life" which saw dozens of people clad in the yellow shirts commemorating the special lobbying day.

National Right to Life president Wanda Franz, a retired professor of clinical psychology at West Virginia University, headlined the event. She asked those in attendance to ask their state legislators to support a bill to stop tax-funding of abortions.

A similar measure failed in the legislature last year because the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates stopped it from moving forward. This year’s bill won’t go through that panel and pro-life advocates say it has a better chance of getting to the governor as a result.

Brian Louk, the director of WVFL, talked with LifeNews.com about the rally and HB 3159, a bill to stop taxpayer funding of elective abortions.

"Under the bill, the state would only pay for abortions that qualify for funding under the federal Medicaid program. The federal Medicaid program only pays for abortions in instances when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when the mother’s life is in danger," he explained.

Although his group would love to see even more abortions de-funded, the bill would stop 96 percent of taxpayer funded abortions in West Virginia.

"Currently, the state of West Virginia pays for Medicaid abortions for any reason, even as a method of birth control. West Virginia is one of only 17 states that pay for abortion on demand," Louk said.

“Most West Virginians are pro-life and don’t like being forced to pay for abortion on demand,” he added.

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.

Since 1993, the state of West Virginia has spent millions of dollars tax dollars to pay for an estimated 16,000 abortions.

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.

Related web sites:
West Virginians for Life – https://www.wvforlife.org

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