On November 6, West Virginia voters will have the opportunity to approve a constitutional amendment that will both end state tax-payer funded abortions and save lives.
Amendment 1, which states, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” will put an end to decades of tax-payer funded abortions through Medicaid that have resulted in more than 35,000 deaths.
Passage of this amendment will ensure that the Mountain State will finally join the two-thirds of the states that limit Medicaid funding of abortion to the usual federal Hyde Amendment justifications—clear danger to the life of the mother, incest, and rape—as well as “severe congenital defects” in the child. A great deal of opposition to Amendment 1 relates to the mischaracterization that voting for the amendment will take away women’s right to an abortion in West Virginia. Federal law has guaranteed that right for nearly 50 years. As Delegate John Shott, Chair of the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee, carefully explains, “Passage of the Amendment does not outlaw abortions. It simply removes the requirement that the taxpayers pay for all abortions demanded by Medicaid recipients. Any person who wants to have an abortion and is willing to pay for it (or has insurance coverage that will pay for it) can obtain an abortion.”
Voting “yes” for Amendment 1 will serve to align public policy with respect to taxpayer funding of abortions with the strong pro-life stance of the general public across the state. That being said, we should dedicate ourselves to supporting programs that increase the well-being of mothers and their unborn children. Voting for Amendment 1 and resolving to urge our legislators to aid mothers on Medicaid will demonstrate true devotion to a Culture of Life in the Mountain State.
Pope Francis states, “All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” Let us join together to protect all life—from natural conception to natural death.
Archbishop William E. Lori
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston