CHARLESTON, WV (WBOY) — West Virginia Democratic Party is asking for lawmakers of all parties to “let the people decide” on abortion by offering a vote for a new constitutional amendment.
When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, it gave power to the states to decide whether abortions would be legal medical procedures. Since then, a law that banned abortion from the 1800s was blocked in Kanawha County Circuit Court, and West Virginia has failed to pass any laws that ban, limit or guarantee abortion rights. Both the House of Delegates and Senate have passed a version of a bill that limits abortions in the state, but neither has been agreed upon by both legislative bodies.
“Since the Republican leadership can’t agree on what to do regarding the criminalization of reproductive health care, West Virginia Democrats say, ‘Let the people decide,'” said the release.
The WVDP’s release calls for Gov. Jim Justice and other Republican legislators to reconvene and add a reproductive rights amendment to the agenda. If passed, the amendment would then be added to an election ballot where it would be decided by popular vote.
“The legislature had its chance to clarify the laws and failed. The session was a slow-motion train wreck that spectacularly went off the rails. Compassion and common sense are in short supply in the capitol right now, so let’s put it before the people to decide,” said Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin (D – Greenbrier).
House Minority Leader Doug Skaff (D – Kanwawha) added, “It’s imperative that we let the residents of our state have a say in how we move forward on this issue. In the past the legislature has approved ballot measures dealing with gambling, Sunday hunting and taxation. Why should the deeply personal issue of abortion be any different? There are half a million women in our state, and they should have a voice on this issue.”
There are four other West Virginia Constitution amendments that are up for vote in the General Election in November, including rules on impeachment, Board of Education power, and incorporation of churches.
In a statement in June, West Virginia’s Senate President Craig Blair (R – Berkley) and Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw (R), said that the majority of West Virginians “have shown us and told us” that they support a ban on abortions that would give unborn children “the same rights as everyone.”