Vote no on Amendment 1

Voters in West Virginia will see a proposed Constitutional Amendment #1 on the ballot when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.

According to, the amendment would add Section 57 to Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution to say: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

Currently, West Virginia is one of only 17 states that permits the use of public funding, like Medicaid, to help low-income women pay for abortions that wealthy or middle-class women (and their daughters) can obtain and pay for with no help from the state. This Amendment would end that assistance for low-income women.

I am NOT a fan of abortion. The idea of it is abhorrent to me. But I am not a woman, so I will NEVER face the possibility of being pregnant through rape or incest, or have my life placed in danger through a pregnancy that may require an abortion to save my life. The life of an unborn child is a precious thing. But so is the life of the mother.

The legislature was given the opportunity to protect state funding of abortions for low-income victims of rape and incest, and for low-income women whose doctors determine that an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. The legislature, in its “infinite wisdom” elected NOT to include those protections in this proposed Amendment.

A vote “Yes” on this issue will NOT end abortion in West Virginia! It will merely add an additional burden to women least able to bear it – low-income women who may have fewer resources and fewer options to receive an abortion than wealthy or middle-class women and their daughters.

I urge you to study this issue carefully before voting on it. Do NOT merely make a knee-jerk decision when you enter the voting booth.

I urge you to vote “NO” on this proposed amendment, so as not to add an additional burden on the most vulnerable people in our state.

Roger Sheppard