Alabama and West Virginia voters will cast their ballots in November to determine if their states’ constitutions should add language stripping away legal abortion protections.
Alabama’s proposed constitutional amendment, “Statewide Amendment 2,” will ask voters to “affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful.” The measure will also guarantee that “the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
“We want to make sure that at a state level, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that the Alabama Constitution cannot be used as a mechanism by which to claim that there is a right to abortion,” bill supporter Alabama Republican Rep. Matt Fridy said, Fox News reported Monday. (RELATED: Court Rules Alabama Abortion Clinics Can Sit Next To Schools)
West Virginia voters will decide whether to adopt a “No Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment,” asking voters whether they want to add that “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion” to the state constitution. The ballot initiative comes after more than two-thirds of the state’s House of Delegates voted in favor of the measure in March.
The West Virginia Senate also voted Feb. 9 in favor of a resolution that would allow the state government to restrict access to abortion by asserting the procedure is not and should not be a constitutional right. Senate Joint Resolution 12 states “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right of abortion or requires the funding of abortion,” according to the Charleston-Gazette Mail.
“It’s the beginning of a trend,” Florida State University College of Law professor Mary Ziegler told Fox News.
“If Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned, there will be some ugly state-by-state battles,” she added. Ziegler is the author of “Rights to Privacy: How Americans Reimagined Roe v. Wade and Why We Have Forgotten.”
Ziegler noted that the ballot measures seek to prepare for a case in which Roe V. Wade is overturned.
“They’re playing the long game, because if Roe is overturned, states will be able to go any way they want to,” she said.
“There is no guarentee that Roe v. Wade will be overturned,” Ziegler added. “Everyone thought [retired Justice Anthony] Kennedy would be the deciding vote to overturn it and he did not. Justices act different when you’re in a position to actually make a change.”
West Virginia’s legislature passed a law in 2015 banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation. It also passed a law in 2016 making it illegal for physicians to perform dilation and extraction abortions.
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