History and Current Legal Situation
Our opponents have never had the public behind them. They have difficulty succeeding with the people’s representatives in the legislatures. They have used liberal courts to help them establish their political agenda. In the case of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973, the Supreme Court abortion decisions overturned the laws of all 50 states. We are among only six countries in the world that allow abortion on demand for all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason. And those six include horrible societies like North Korea and China.
The 1973 court decisions were an overwhelming attack on the values of Americans. Human rights were destroyed because individual human beings were no longer considered persons with dignity that had to be protected at all costs. It was an attack on our Judeo-Christian belief in the sanctity of all human life. As long as Roe and Doe are in place, we no longer have the protections discussed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
In West Virginia, the law banning abortions, which was in place in 1973, is still on the books. It was never replaced following the Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court “found” the right to abortion in the “penumbras” or “shadows” of the federal constitution, and West Virginia women have been having abortions under that federal constitution for 45 years.
Then, in 1993, the state legislature passed a law preventing the funding of abortion with tax-payer dollars. The law limited the funding of abortions only in the cases of life of the mother, medical emergency, reported rape and incest and fetal anomaly. That law was challenged and taken to the West Virginia State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court, in the Panepinto decision, claimed to “find” the requirement of government funding of abortion in the West Virginia Constitution. Thus, the State Supreme Court over-ruled our legislative branch of government by declaring a new funding requirement.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1980 in Harris v. McRae that its 1973 abortion decisions created a right to abortion, but not a government entitlement, under the federal constitution. Since then, federal Medicaid dollars have been limited to the funding of abortions only in cases that threaten the life of the mother or in rape and incest.
Over the years, WV taxpayers have paid nearly $10,000,000 for approximately 35,000 abortions. In recent years, the payments have increased along with the increase in Medicaid recipients due to ObamaCare. This year, the WV Legislature passed a proposed constitutional amendment, which will be on the ballot at the November election. You and all your friends and relatives must vote “Yes on Amendment 1.” This amendment says: “Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” The purpose of Amendment 1 is to prevent our state constitution from allowing for abortion and to return to the state legislature its appropriate responsibility for control over the funding of abortion.
You will hear some hysterical claims about what will happen when Amendment 1 passes. However, following passage of Amendment 1, women in WV will still have access to abortions under the federal constitution, as always. No rights will be taken away, but Amendment 1 will prevent future judges from “finding” in the state constitution either abortion rights or tax funding of abortions. Under Amendment 1, our tax dollars can be limited to paying for abortion only in the cases of a threat to the life of the mother, or in a medical emergency, reported rape and incest and fetal anomaly.
We have heard many outrageous claims for Amendment 1.
Chief Justice Margaret Workman, It “constitutes a discriminatory funding scheme which violates an indigent woman’s constitutional rights.”
Margaret Chapman Pomponio, WV Free, “It is clear that this is far-reaching and much more sweeping and damaging than the already terribly onerous restriction taking away Medicaid coverage for poor women. We’re talking about all women now.”
Joe Cohen, Executive Director of ACLU of West Virginia, “The proposed amendment is incredibly radical. Proponents are not even trying to hide how radical it is. The language is incredibly clear. I believe once West Virginians look at it, they’ll see how radical it is and vote it down.”
Barbara Fleischauer, 51st District, House of Delegates, “An 11-year-old girl, who has been raped won’t be able to get an abortion if this amendment passes.”
FUNDING MEDICAID ABORTIONS MAY BE EXPENSIVE
Wanda Franz, Ph.D., Developmental Psychology
Over the years, West Virginia has paid for almost 35,000 elective abortions at the cost of $10 million taxpayer dollars. It is likely that these taxpayer-funded abortions have resulted in an increase in subsequent expenditures to the Medicaid system.
This assumption is based on studies performed using the data from California’s Medicaid system – Medi-Cal. This state comprises approximately 10% of the population of the United States and the researchers had access to the entire Medi-Cal system with hundreds of thousands of data points.
The researchers compared women who gave birth in the Medi-Cal system with those who chose to obtain abortions. Women were eliminated from the study if they had received services for psychological problems prior to the pregnancy. Since the data are found in the official records of the Medi-Cal system, the doctors have approved the payments for the purposes indicated.
The researchers concluded that women, who had Medi-Cal funded abortions, had a significantly higher number of subsequent claims for mental health care than women who had given birth:
For Outpatient Care:
● 21% more claims for adjustment reactions
● 95% more claims for bipolar disorder
● 40% more claims for neurotic depression
● 97% more claims for schizophrenia (1)
For Hospital Admissions:
● 90% more claims for depressive psychosis
●110% more claims for recurring episodes
●200% more claims for bipolar disorder (2)
These findings suggest that when women have abortions under the WV Medicaid system, they may also put increased demands on the system long after obtaining their abortions. Providing free elective abortions under Medicaid may be costing WV taxpayers more than expected.
(1) Coleman, P.K., Reardon, D.C., Rue, V.M., & Cougle, J. (2002). State-funded abortions vs. deliveries: A comparison of outpatient mental health claims over four years. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 72, 141-152.
(2) Reardon, D.C., Cougle, J., Rue, V.M., Shuping, M., Coleman, P.K. & New, P.G. (2003). Psychiatric admissions of low-income women following abortion and childbirth. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168, 1253-1256.