Published On: Thu, Nov 8th, 2018

Abortion laws: Alabama votes to protect ‘the rights of unborn children’, West Virginia ends ‘right to abortion’

Voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved sweeping amendments to state constitutions that could put major limitations on access to abortions.

Alabama’s amendment makes it state policy to protect “the rights of unborn children” and “support the sanctity of unborn life.”

“It basically paves the way to ban abortion in all instances,” Shante Wolfe-Sisson, the campaign manager for Alabama for Healthy Families, a group that opposed the initiative, said Wednesday in an interview with CBS News. “In practice, it will sit in the Alabama constitution as a standing law so in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will automatically become law.”

Alabama voters moved to amend the state constitution to include that its policy was to protect “the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life” and its official stance on abortion was to “ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child in all manners and measures lawful and appropriate.” Wolfe-Sisson says these changes would effectively outlaw pregnancy-ending procedures in the event Roe v. Wade gets overturned.

Guttmacher Institute’s Senior State Issues Manager Elizabeth Nash isn’t exactly sure what legal impact Alabama’s measure will have.

“That language has never been approved or implemented or anything like that,” Nash said. “There are concerns that that language would apply more broadly to something other than abortion, like perhaps actions by a pregnant person or miscarriage, or like somehow that could be applied to criminalize pregnancy in some way.”

photo: 14 week fetus photo/ Your Pregnancy week by week

West Virginia narrowly passed a similar amendment that states nothing in the state Constitution “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” That vote was 52 percent to 48 percent.

Amendment 1 changed the state’s constitution to say explicitly that abortion is not protected.

Opponents of the amendment say it would help lawmakers ban abortion if Roe is overturned. “If Amendment 1 passes, it paves the way for these politicians to pass other restrictive laws that could put the women in our lives in danger and leave their medical decisions in the hands of the government,” Julie Warden, a spokesperson for the reproductive rights group WVFree, told Rewire.

A measure in Oregon did not pass Tuesday.

That measure would have stopped public employees and Medicaid patients from receiving insurance coverage for abortion. The result, defeated by 30 percent, wasn’t surprising as Oregon is one of the most liberal states in the country.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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