Opponents of an abortion-related constitutional amendment in West Virginia are making what one authority described as false statements to defeat the measure.
In 1993, the state legislature passed a law banning taxpayer funding of elective abortions, except in certain circumstances. But as noted by Dr. Wanda Franz of West Virginians for Life, it was challenged in court.
"The Panepinto decision determined that [the law] was null and void and instead ... found in our state constitution the right of women to have elective abortions paid for by the state of West Virginia with Medicaid funds," she tells OneNewsNow – which means taxpayers have funded about 35,000 abortions.
Earlier this year, the legislature approved by a wide margin a constitutional amendment that would correct that – and the state's voters will have the opportunity next week to weigh in on Amendment 1, which states:
"To amend the West Virginia Constitution to clarify that nothing in the Constitution of West Virginia secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion."
According to Franz, opponents are crying foul. "Their argument is that it will take the abortion issue out of our constitution and set up the possibility that it would outlaw abortions for women," she explains. But because a state can't change its constitution to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision, the pro-life spokeswoman calls that argument "ludicrous and irresponsible."
In fact, passage of West Virginia's Amendment 1 would not outlaw abortion. It simply removes the requirement that taxpayers pay for all abortions demanded by Medicaid recipients. Voters will decide the issue next Tuesday.