|RIGHT TO LIFERS COULD PASS WV DRACONIAN AMMENDMENT ON NOV. 6|
Excluding bonds and veterans' bonuses, the state constitution has only seen three or four substantive amendments in its history.
This November, there will be two proposed amendments to the West Virginia Constitution.
Suffice it to say, amending the state Constitution is a rare and radical act.
Amendment 1, would be a radical departure from our state's commitment to personal freedoms.
Amendment 1 says, in its entirety, "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects the right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion."
It gives legislators a broad path for interpretation.
It fully removes the right to abortion from the state constitution, even in extreme circumstances like sexual assault, incest or when the life of the woman is at risk.
While people hold deep personal beliefs about abortion, the ramifications of passing an amendment like this are dangerous and far-reaching.
Courts serve as a check on legislative power. By explicitly stating that there is no right to abortion, West Virginia courts would have no authority to review any legislation related to abortion, hobbling our system of checks and balances.
The authority granted by passing Amendment 1 is sweeping.
Despite false claims that it is only about funding, it is clear when you read the amendment that it fully strips protections for the right to abortion without providing any exceptions.
Another view of the open book on the amendment is, if it is all about funding, if you're too poor, government health benefits will not pay for your abortion.
Abortion has, and will likely always, be a contentious issue. But regardless of one's personal feelings on abortion, it's clear that Amendment 1 is too extreme.
It circumvents the role of the courts, goes against West Virginia's commitment to personal liberty and doesn't include important exceptions for extreme circumstances.
And ultimately, it puts personal healthcare choices in the hands of a few legislators who issued the amendment, instead of people and their doctors.