West Virginia, we have had enough of your shit. All of your public school teachers are on strike to get fair wages and benefits and now you are trying to deny abortion rights to your citizens. Enough.
On Monday, West Virginia still hadn’t given its teachers a raise, but the House did manage to vote to end abortion rights. Lawmakers say the main goal of a proposed constitutional amendment is to end Medicaid funding for abortions. Opponents say the change could lead to a future ban on abortions altogether. The House voted 73-25 to pass the resolution, which was approved by the Senate in February and will go before voters in November.
Joint Resolution 12, amends language in the state constitution to say it does not protect a woman’s right to get an abortion and does not require the state funding of abortions. If lawmakers get their way, this would prevent state Medicaid from paying for abortions even in the cases of incest or rape. There were 1,560 Medicaid-funded abortions performed in the state in 2017.
The summary of the amendment reads,
To 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.
This language can certainly be interpreted to mean that NO abortions would be provided in the state. Therein lies the problem most opponents keep voicing.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that opposes abortion restrictions, West Virginia is one of 17 states whose policies direct Medicaid payments for all or most medically necessary abortions.
In addition to being discriminatory against women in general, the bill discriminates against poor women who cannot pay for a medically necessary abortion. This is a blatant attack on women’s health.
And let’s not pretend that this doesn’t also have religious discriminatory undertones. West Virginia is right above the nation’s Bible Belt. Many lawmakers in the state pander to their very religious voters. Religious groups are already directing their followers to vote for the amendment in November. So, tell me how, exactly, this is about state-funded Medicaid?
Get it together, West Virginia. The nation has its eyes on you.