CHARLESTON, W.V. — Residents in West Virginia voted on Tuesday to approve a proposal that would add an amendment to the state Constitution declaring that there is no “right” to an abortion in the document.
51 percent of voters approved Amendment 1, also known as the “No Constitutional Right to Abortion” amendment, with 48 percent voting against it.
The ballot question asked whether residents agreed that the State should “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.”
Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade by leaving the matter up to the states, the amendment would solidify West Virginia’s right to declare abortion illegal in the state.
“[We] are hopeful we’ll get a Supreme Court that actually reads the Constitution and doesn’t make it up as they go along, and if they do, someday that decision is going to be overturned,” Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“We wouldn’t want our state Supreme Court to suddenly find a right to abortion,” he outlined. “So what this says is, if that were to happen, if this resolution is adopted, then it would be within the purview of the state legislature to determine what the laws in the state of West Virginia are going to be regarding abortion.”
According to the “Vote Yes on 1” website, West Virginia already has a law on the books declaring abortion to be illegal, and that law was never repealed after the issuance of Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers considered Roe as superseding state law since it was a federal decision.
As previously reported, the initial bill to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot was presented by Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson. She told reporters that the move also would counter a 1993 West Virginia Supreme Court ruling that struck down a law banning Medicaid funding of abortions.
“I believe that that’s something that people who have conscious objection shouldn’t have to pay for,” Rucker remarked to CBS News.
However, a coalition identified as Advocates for Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice launched an effort in opposition to Amendment 1, stating that they were “beyond” outraged.
“This amendment sets us up for restrictive policy after restrictive policy, year after year. Not to mention the fact that if Roe v Wade is overturned federally, draconian language in our own state code would totally criminalize all abortion,” a website for the effort states. “This means anyone involved in an abortion would be subject to jail time. Think of it—that means doctors; nurses; a woman attempting to self-abort…”
As previously reported, in his 1854 lecture at the University of Pennsylvania on criminal abortion, obstetrician Hugh Hodge declared, “[H]uman life commences at the time of conception; … the embryo and fetus therefore should be protected during its intra-uterine life as sedulously as after birth.”
“Hence, that all efforts, direct or indirect, to disturb the progress of gestation or to injure the product of conception are criminal, alike violating the laws of nature and of God,” he stated.
Psalm 139:13-14 also declares, “For Thou hast possessed my reins; Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5 proclaims, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child, even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”