By Dave Andrusko
On Wednesday West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed two measures into law: a strengthened parent’s right to know bill and a “telemedicine” bill which explicitly prevents long-distance prescription of abortifacient drugs.
On April 8, the last day of the West Virginia legislative session, the Senate overwhelmingly passed HB 2002, the Parent’s Right to Know Act, by a 28-6 vote. A few hours later, the House concurred by an equally lopsided vote of 82-17.
HB 2002 closes a loophole in the 1984 law that allowed for a second doctor to okay a minor girl’s abortion without her parent’s knowledge. The bill still allows for a judicial bypass in abusive situations.
West Virginia now joins 30 other states with similar laws, most of which have been in effect for decades.
“West Virginia’s pro-life legislators recognized the need to protect the rights of parents to know when their daughter is contemplating an abortion, which is an invasive surgical procedure and a life-changing decision,” said West Virginians for Life Legislative Coordinator Karen Cross. “If a child is a victim of sexual abuse, I find it unbelievable that she can be given a secret abortion and returned to the abuse. This law should rectify that because judges are mandatory reporters.”
The Telemedicine Bill permits a physician to prescribe certain controlled substances when using telemedicine technologies. Abortion proponents made it clear that they wanted to use the bill as a means of expanding abortion in West Virginia (typically referred to as “webcam abortions”).
Because the Telemedicine Bill, as passed in the House, did not prohibit abortionists from prescribing drugs with the intent to abort, it needed to be amended in the Senate to prevent long-distance prescription of abortifacient drugs. The Senate did just that on April 5, and the House overwhelmingly concurred on April 8.