W.Va. Amendment One regarding abortion language in state constitution passes

Published: Nov. 7, 2018 at 12:28 AM EST
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West Virginia Amendment One concerning abortion funding has passed.

It came down to 52 percent of people voting yes (or 291,471 votes) and 48 percent of people voting no (272,869 votes.)

With the passage, this language will be added to the state constitution: “Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

In 1993, the state Supreme Court interpreted the state constitution to say that medically-necessary abortions could not be denied to the poor. That meant state Medicaid funds would have to pay.

The ruling invalidated a state law passed earlier in the year.

Amendment One provides a chance to have a say-so. Although this amendment just adds one line to the constitution, the repercussions could be significant.

According to our media partner WV MetroNews, the amendment’s most immediate effect would be to overturn

. Ruth Ann Panepinto was the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Both sides of the issue made their case to the public ahead of Election Day.

Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of West Virginia Free, told MetroNews that Amendment One will result in the government taking away an option for poor women that is available to others.

Language stating the state constitution has nothing to say about abortion could result in lawmakers chipping away and chipping away at current practices, she said. The executive director of West Virginia ACLU, Joseph Cohen, echoed those


Mary Anne Buchanan, communications director for West Virginians for Life, told MetroNews that this amendment removes taxpayers from the equation.

“We look at it as a taxpayer’s right thing,” Buchanan said. “The taxpayer doesn’t want to have to pay for an abortion. That woman would have to find a way to pay for it.”

She also said it is momentous that West Virginians have the opportunity to shape the state constitution. “This is historic,” she said. “Never before in our state have the voters had the opportunity to vote on anything of this magnitude related to abortion. It may never happen again.”

A majority vote was necessary for the amendment to pass.

Only 16 other states in the country require taxpayer funding of abortion.