Killing Women is Not “Pro-Life”

Amendment One will be on every West Virginia ballot this November. If it passes, it will add the following language to the West Virginia Constitution:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.

It will look something like this on the ballot:

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What does this mean?

If Amendment One passes, the West Virginia Constitution will NEVER protect a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. That’s right; never.

You may have been told by proponents of Amendment One that the West Virginia Constitution will still protect women and girls whose lives or at risk, or who have been raped. This is a lie.

I am a civil rights and constitutional law attorney in West Virginia. Amendment One could not be more clear: if it is adopted, the West Virginia Constitution will never protect a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

What about exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother?

There are none.

In fact, when Amendment One was called last legislative session, this issue was brought up more than once.

The was somewhat confusingly written, but explicitly did not protect the rights of mothers who had been raped or whose lives were in danger. Amendments that would have provided exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother were explicitly rejected. When SJR 12 was in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Karnes, one of its sponsors, asked questions of counsel to ensure that the amendment would not protect abortion in any circumstances.

Let’s just look at the language of Amendment One again:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.

The two clauses in this sentence can be separated into different sentences without changing their meaning.

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion. Nothing in this Constitution requires the funding of abortion.

Now take away the second sentence.

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.

Amendment One could have been drafted to only be about Medicaid funding for abortion. Easily.

Nothing in this Constitution requires the funding of abortion.

But that’s not what it says. It says:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.

If the drafters of Amendment One had wanted to include exceptions, such as for the life of the mother, they could have. They did not.

Sometimes it is necessary to terminate a pregnancy in order to save the life of the woman who is pregnant.

It is simply a fact that certain pregnancy complications can kill a potential mother. An ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg attaches somewhere else than inside of the uterus. , “[a]n ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The fertilized egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated.”

If Amendment One is written into the West Virginia Constitution, it will no longer protect the right of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy to save her own life.

That simply cannot be considered to be “pro-life.”

If you consider yourself pro-life, I implore you: Please, don’t forget about the lives of women. Vote against Amendment One.

Written by

Civil rights law nerd, feminist, writer, doting cat mom. Regular contributor to Wonkette. Past Legal Director of the ACLU-WV. I write, I drink, & I know things.

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