The League of Women Voters of West Virginia urges voters to say NO to Constitutional Amendment 1 on November 6.
If passed Amendment 1 would add the following language to the WV Constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
Amendment 1 eliminates a woman’s right to privacy when making reproductive choices. The LWV believes a decision to terminate a pregnancy should be a private decision done in consultation between a woman and her doctor. The WV State constitution should protect this right of privacy.
Amendment 1 provides no exceptions in the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. The amendment denies the right of women to terminate any pregnancy under any circumstances.
This amendment also denies poor women access to government funds for abortions, including instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The full weight of Amendment 1 will be realized if federal safeguards (provided by Roe v Wade) protecting a women’s right to privacy when making decisions regarding abortion are removed. Laws approved in years past by the state legislature made abortion a felony. Court injunctions prevented their implementation but if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, they could easily resurface. If Roe is overturned, the passage of Amendment 1 would mean the state constitution would provide no protection for West Virginia women. Desperate women attempting to terminate their own pregnancies because medically safe procedures are unavailable would be subject to criminal prosecution. So would any medical personnel who assist in abortion procedures.
The League of Women Voters believes public policy must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. We urge voters to vote No on Amendment 1.