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The Facts2018-09-28T12:58:48-04:00

Fiction: A woman’s right to abortion is being taken away.

FACT: Abortions will remain legal in West Virginia when Amendment 1 passes. Taxpayer funding is what will be taken away except in certain cases.* Women’s right to abortion is rooted at the Federal level. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton that our Federal Constitution contained a right to abortion. The WV State Constitution cannot override that decision by banning abortion. In West Virginia, the law banning abortion was never changed after 1973. It was assumed that the Federal law was sufficient. There has never been a West Virginia “right to abortion.” This was the case until 1993 when Panepinto “found” a right to government funding for abortion in the State Constitution. Amendment 1 neutralizes the Constitution to overturn the Panepinto funding decision and to prevent judges from erroneously “finding” abortion rights.

Fiction: Poor women will be denied necessary medical care and will die.

FACT:  Before and after the abortion decisions of 1973, women could always obtain abortions when their lives were in danger. The obstetrician has always had the legal ability to make a medical determination to end the pregnancy.

Fiction: Abortion is health care.

FACT:  Abortion is not health care. The debate over abortion has always been about elective abortions, that is, all about choice. The woman doesn’t need medical permission from her doctor to get an abortion. These are not medical decisions. They are based on social, emotional and economic factors in the life of the woman. These factors are important and serious, but most Americans do not believe they rise to the level of justifying the killing of the unborn child. (Marist Poll (1/18) – 50% opposed abortion except to save the life of the mother, and in cases of rape or incest.)

Fiction: An 11-year-old girl, who is raped, cannot get an abortion.

FACT:  She will have the right to abortion, regardless of her circumstances. The question is whether or not the state pays for her abortion. If the law adjudicated in 1993 goes back into effect, that law allows funding for abortions for life of the mother, medical emergency, reported rape and incest, and fetal anomaly.

Fiction: West Virginians want poor women to receive free “reproductive” health care.

FACT:  While the people of West Virginia want to provide medically-necessary health care for poor women through government subsidies, they DO NOT want to fund elective abortions with their tax dollars. A Marist Poll, 1/18, indicated that 60% of Americans oppose their tax dollars paying for abortions. In Harris v McRae, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1973 abortion decisions created a limitation on government, not a government entitlement under the Constitution. Consequently, the legislative representatives of the people have the power to control government funding of abortion. Having a right doesn’t mean government must fund it.

Fiction: Abortion is safe.

FACT:  It is a brutal procedure that ends the lives of unborn children through suction, dismemberment or chemical poisoning. Ob/Gyns point out that when a woman’s life is in danger during a pregnancy, performing an abortion would be stressful to the woman already medically compromised. In Harris v. McRae, the Supreme Court ruled that the government may distinguish between abortion and other procedures in funding decisions, noting that “no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.” In addition, the woman is at risk for many psychological and physical health problems following abortion.

Fiction: Amendment 1 won’t save lives.

FACT:  The Federal law (Hyde Amendment) limits federal tax dollars from paying for abortions, except to save the life of the mother or for rape or incest. An estimated two million people are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment.

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When Amendment 1 is ratified by the voters on Nov. 6 and the 1993 Panepinto Decision is reversed, abortion funding will return to West Virginia Code §9-2-11 (the pre-Panepinto Decision)*. When voters say yes to Amendment 1, taxpayer funding of abortion will be limited to those cases that prevent the death of the mother or in cases of “medical emergency”, as defined below.**

*§9-2-11. Limitation on use of funds.

(a) No funds from the medicaid program accounts may be used to pay for the performance of an abortion by surgical or chemical means unless: (1) On the basis of the physician’s best clinical judgment, there is: (i) A medical emergency that so complicates a pregnancy as to necessitate an immediate abortion to avert the death of the mother or for which a delay will create grave peril of irreversible loss of major bodily function or an equivalent injury to the mother: Provided, That an independent physician concurs with the physician’s clinical judgment; or (ii) Clear clinical medical evidence that the fetus has severe congenital defects or terminal disease or is not expected to be delivered; or (2) The individual is a victim of incest or the individual is a victim of rape when the rape is reported to a law-enforcement agency.

(b) The Legislature intends that the state’s medicaid program not provide coverage for abortion on demand and that abortion services be provided only as expressly provided for in this section. 

**The term “medical emergency” means, on the basis of a reasonably prudent physician’s reasonable medical judgment, the patient has a condition that so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions. No condition may be deemed a medical emergency if based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

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