West Virginians for Life (WVFL) began Monday with a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee in which Karen Cross, the WVFL Legislative Liaison, testified.
The purpose of the hearing was to defend the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (SB 417, HB 4012) which will redefine “medical emergency” and limit taxpayer funding of abortions in West Virginia. Currently, West Virginia pays for Medicaid abortion on demand. West Virginians have paid for nearly $10 million for abortions. The last year for which WVFL was able to obtain statistics, the state paid for more than 1,500 abortions.
Later the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SJR 12, a proposed constitutional amendment by voice vote. SJR 12 requires two-thirds passage by both the Senate and House and a voter referendum to take effect. It states, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
WVFL’s President Dr. Wanda Franz and Program Director Mary Anne Buchanan presented petition signatures weighing 35 pounds to the House Speaker and Senate President.
WVFL held a great rally in the Capitol Rotunda in support of the aforementioned “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and the “Non-discrimination in Involuntary Denial of Treatment Act” (SB 436).
Speaking were lead sponsors of key pro-life legislation Sen. Patricia Rucker, Sen. Robert Karnes, Del. Kayla Kessinger, and Del. Ruth Rowan; Senate President Mitch Carmichael; House Speaker Tim Armstead; Secretary of State Mac Warner; state Auditor John McCuskey; Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; and Congressman Evan Jenkins.
Destiny Skidmore and Racheal Rude presented their winning pro-life teen essays. In addition to Franz and Cross, Pam Stanley, WVFL executive director, spoke. The Rev. Fr. Brian Crenwelge from the Basilica of The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart gave the invocation and Pastor Nathan Williamson of Covenant Evangelical Methodist Church, gave the benediction. Re:Claim Worship Team provided music.
A prayer walk through the Capitol immediately followed the rally.