West Virginia Amendment One Would Stop Forcing Taxpayers to Fund Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 17, 2018   |   11:05AM   |   Charleston, West Virginia

West Virginia is one of 17 states that forces its taxpayers to pay for elective abortions. But that could change in November.

West Virginians will have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that makes it clear that their state does not recognize abortion as a “right.” The Amendment One ballot measure passed the state legislature in March, and West Virginians will vote on it in November.

If it passes, the following language will be added to the state constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

The amendment would make it easier for the state to pass pro-life laws, including a restriction on taxpayer funding for abortions. West Virginia funds elective abortions for low-income women through Medicaid.

“If Amendment 1 is ratified by the voters in November, then West Virginia will join 33 other states and the federal government in limiting taxpayer funding of abortion,” said West Virginians For Life Legislative Liaison Karen Cross, previously.

It was a West Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1993, not voters, that allowed taxpayer-funded abortions in the state.

West Virginians have paid about $10 million for about 35,000 unborn babies’ abortion deaths as a result. In 2017 alone, state taxpayers paid for 1,560 unborn babies to be aborted, according to the AP.

“We know that limiting abortion funding saves lives. In fact, 2 million people are alive today because of the federal Hyde Amendment,” Cross said.

This summer, the two major political parties in the state adopted resolutions about Amendment One. Unsurprisingly, the state Republican Party supports the measure, while the Democratic Party opposes it.

The West Virginia Metro News reports:

This past Saturday, state Republican Party leaders meeting in Wheeling, adopted a resolution backing the amendment. The resolution reads, “The State Executive committee of the West Virginia Republican Party supports the passage of Amendment One, in solidarity with the values of our platform and in defense of the thousands of unborn killed with taxpayer dollars in the name of choice.”

State Democratic Party Leaders adopted the opposite position at their recent meeting. Party Communications Director Brittni McGuire said they voted “to oppose Amendment 1 because of the extreme nature of the amendment… the amendment does not protect the life of the mother or child and it does not take into consideration cases of rape or incest.”

However, pro-life advocates said the amendment would allow taxpayer funding for abortions in cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s life. The amendment would stop taxpayer funding of elective abortions. Learn more about Amendment One.

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Polls consistently show that most Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions. A Marist poll found that two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, including a majority of women and people who identify as pro-choice.

In October 2016, a Politico/Harvard University poll also found that just 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.

These are the 17 states that force taxpayers to fund elective abortions:

  • Alaska (court order)
  • Arizona (court order)
  • California (court order)
  • Connecticut (court order)
  • Hawaii (voluntarily)
  • Illinois (voluntary)
  • Maryland (voluntarily)
  • Massachusetts (court order)
  • Minnesota (court order)
  • Montana (court order)
  • New Jersey (court order)
  • New Mexico (court order)
  • New York (voluntarily)
  • Oregon (court order)
  • Vermont (court order)
  • Washington (voluntarily)
  • West Virginia (court order)