CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A national anti-abortion organization is putting $500,000 toward its efforts to support a proposed amendment to the state constitution and its campaign against U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in this year’s Senate contest.
Susan B. Anthony List announced the funding Monday outside of Manchin’s campaign headquarters in Charleston.
Amendment One would add the following to the state’s governing document: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
Proponents argue abortion in the cases of rape, incest and health of the mother or child would be covered if Amendment One passes.
The amendment would, in turn, overturn a 1993 West Virginia Supreme Court ruling, in which the high court ruled abortion for low-income women can be covered through Medicaid funding.
Delegate Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, said the court was wrong when it made the decision more than two decades ago.
“What will happen on Nov 6., if Amendment One passes, the Supreme Court’s decision to require funding for abortion through Medicaid will be overturned,” she said. “It’ll go back to the original code in Chapter 9 that states Medicaid will not pay for abortions unless and it’ll go back to those three exceptions.”
According to Susan B. Anthony List national spokeswoman Mallory Quigley, the amendment would save “more than 1,500 unborn West Virginians a year.”
Quigley, standing in front of Amendment One supporters, said since July, 75 canvassers have visited 50,000 homes to encourage them to vote in favor of the proposed amendment.
“What we found was not that surprising,” she said. “West Virginia is a very strong pro-life state, and the majority of voters are horrified when they’re learning that, for more than two decades, the state has used taxpayer funding to pay for elective abortion, even late-term abortion.”
Quigley added voters also need to support “pro-life champions,” calling out Manchin in the process for a quote he made to POLITICO last week.
“Where does Joe stand on Amendment One? He won’t say for sure,” she said. “He’s said to one reporter, ‘Why do you want an answer to that? There are so many important things.'”
Manchin’s campaign staff did not return a request for comment.
“What can be more important than saving the lives of more than 1,500 unborn children every year?” Quigley pressed.
During a Republican event in Charleston’s Kanawha City borough, Manchin’s Senate opponent and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey stressed his support for Amendment One.
“It’s long past time that we get rid of taxpayer funding of abortion, don’t you think?” he said.
The Vote No On Amendment 1 Coalition has launched television advertisements in the Charleston-Huntington, Beckley-Bluefield and Parkersburg markets. Coupled with digital advertising and a direct mail program, the campaign is capable of reaching more than 200,000 households.
“West Virginia voters need to know that Amendment 1 has no protections for victims of rape, incest or if a woman’s health or life is in danger,” spokesperson Julie Warden said last week in a press release. “The government should never have the power to make personal healthcare decisions on behalf of West Virginia women. Amendment 1 goes too far.”
MetroNews reported in January the number of state-funded abortions deemed medically necessary more than tripled between 2012 and 2017. During this period, Medicaid expanded under the Affordable Care Act.