Vote For Amendment 1

Editor, News-Register:

This election day, West Virginians will have an historic opportunity to change our state constitution by voting FOR passage of Amendment 1. As it now stands, West Virginia is one of only 17 states that require state Medicaid dollars to fund elective abortions (that is, abortion on demand).

According to a Pew Research poll, the majority of West Virginians opposed to abortion is among the highest in the country. So how ironic it is that West Virginians’ tax dollars have paid nearly $10 million for 35,000 abortions (on average, that’s about $285.71 per abortion).

By voting “FOR” Amendment 1, we can STOP our tax dollars from funding abortion on-demand.

We can be proud that two of our local state senators, Ryan Ferns and Michael Maroney, sponsored legislation placing Amendment 1 on the ballot. Unfortunately, this proposed amendment has been misrepresented by other politicians, bloggers and media outlets. So I would like to provide some clarification on some of the biggest misconceptions.

False Myth No. 1: “Abortion will be outlawed in West Virginia.”

Fact: Amendment 1 will NOT outlaw abortion in West Virginia. The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade ( prohibiting states from banning abortion prior to fetal viability) remains the law of the land. Amending the W.Va. Constitution does not supersede this federal ruling.

False Myth No. 2: “There are no exceptions for instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.”

Fact: Passage of Amendment 1 will actually “revive” WV Code 9-2-11. (This code was previously declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in 1993). WV Code 9-2-11 DOES provide for abortion funding in such cases where the mother’s life is in danger, medical emergency, rape, incest and severe fetal anomaly. Voting FOR Amendment 1 will actually restore constitutionality to WV Code 9-2-11.

During my research on Amendment 1, I have reviewed websites and letters to the editor against passing Amendment 1. One recurring argument is that once a woman of limited means does carry her baby to term, then society abandons them both, without any financial means or support. Nothing could be further from the truth! In addition to roughly 1,200 federally qualified health clinics, there are over 2,700 pregnancy centers nationally that provide medical testing, prenatal care, childbirth classes, and many other services to women facing unplanned pregnancies. And once the child is born, there are no less than 13 government, public and private programs in West Virginia that provide financial, medical, nutritional and emotional assistance to women, children and families.

But perhaps the most raw, revealing “argument” against Amendment 1 can be found on #VoteNoOn1WV:

“When all women who find it necessary to end a pregnancy can do so, there will be fewer drug addicted newborns, fewer cases of child abuse and fewer children in foster care. There will be less reliance on social services.”

As a physician, I have the privilege of caring for many poor children of West Virginia. Yes, many of them are abused. Some are brought in by their foster parents. And several of these kids do bear the physical and emotional signs of their parents’ prenatal neglect and drug abuse. Yet these children are some of the most grateful, loving, and happy kids that you will ever meet. For having experienced such challenging disadvantages in their short lives, they are quick to respond to compassion and respect. To equate their existence as an “economic burden” speaks more to our poverty of humanity than their poverty of resources.

On November 6, we will have the opportunity to show that West Virginians place the value of a mother and child over the cost of an abortion. More than $285.71.

Vote FOR the dignity and sanctity of ALL Life. Vote FOR Amendment 1.

Christopher Tiu, MD

Wheeling

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