LPJL’s Vagical Mystery Tour takes Charleston, West Virginia! In honor of that historic occasion, we’d like to lay on you exactly how things stand, repro rights-wise, for the good people of West Virginia.
And we’re here to give you the straight shit—the State of Reproductive Rights in West Virginia is under existential threat. Like, they’re setting a legislative booby trap designed to totally snap shut on abortion rights in West Virginia the moment Roe v Wade goes. AND in the meantime, they’re going to deny abortion access to poor people (which is a HUGE issue in West Virginia).
More in a minute about that. But before we even get there, we gotta tell you that West Virginia is ALREADY down to ONE abortion clinic in the entire state! And it’s a state of over 1.8 million people. The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia in Charleston is literally THE women’s health center of West Virginia, as in the only one.
And that clinic and the people who need it are subject to the usual raft of crap that shouldn’t exist anywhere—a mandatory 24 hour waiting period, a total abortion ban after 20 weeks, and parental consent WITHOUT the option of going before a judge, because family values, right?
What West Virginians DID have going for them was a 1993 state Supreme Court ruling that said West Virginia HAD to use its Medicaid funds to pay for abortion care. It was a ray of rational sunlight in a very conservative state. And yeah, they figured out a way to shit-can it. This November, West Virginians will vote on a ballot measure to change the state constitution to say “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” Bye-bye rational sunlight. Bye-bye abortion rights.
If the amendment passes, Medicaid will no longer pay for necessary abortion care. And AHEM, one-third of the people in West Virginia are on Medicaid! There were 1,500 Medicaid abortions in 2017 alone. So they’re voting on an amendment whose sole purpose is to deny abortion rights to poor people! That should solve the poverty problem, right?
And if—on top of that—Roe v Wade should fall, this amendment means that ancient laws still on the books in WV would kick in—and abortion would automatically become a crime punishable by 3 to 10 years in jail.
The people of West Virginia deserve better. And they can get better for themselves in November. ACLU of West Virginia Executive Director Joe Cohen said “I always knew our best chance of defeating this was taking it to the people of West Virginia. I trust the people of West Virginia more than I trust the politicians.”
The people of WV are who we’re here for! So come on out—get happy! And get motivated!