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Introduced Version House Resolution 40 History

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HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 40

(By Delegates Cowles, Mr. Speaker (Mr. Thompson), Anderson, Andes, Armstead, Azinger, Boggs, Border, Campbell, D., Cann, Canterbury, Carmichael, Craig, Crosier, Duke, Ellington, Evans, Ferns, Ferro, Gearheart, Hall, Hamilton, Hartman, Householder, Howell, Iaquinta, Ireland, Marcum, Lane, Michael, Miller, C., Miller, J., Moye, Nelson, O'Neal, Overington, Pasdon, Paxton, Perry, Pethtel, Phillips, R., Pino, Poling, D., Reynolds, Rodighiero, Romine, Rowan, Savilla, Shaver, Sigler, Skaff, Smith, Snuffer, Sobonya, Storch, Stowers, Sumner, Swartzmiller, Walker, White, Williams, Walters and Varner)

 

 

Expressing concern of the House of Delegates to the steady growth in the number and cost of taxpayer funded abortions and urging that the issue of public funding of abortions be reevaluated in view of advances in medical knowledge and the expansion of Medicaid coverage.

    Whereas, During a special session in May 1993 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2 which included within its provisions the text of West Virginia Code §9-2-11 in which the Legislature expressed its will to ban the use of state Medicaid funds for abortions except in limited circumstances; and

    Whereas, After Senate Bill 2 was signed by the Governor, the constitutionality of West Virginia Code §9-2-11 was challenged in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; and

    Whereas, On December 17, 1993 the Justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled, By a 3 to 2 vote, that West Virginia Code §9-2-11 “constitutes a discriminatory funding scheme that violates an indigent woman’s constitutional rights”; and

    Whereas, Writing for the majority of the Court, Justice Workman concluded that although the state was not required to subsidize any of the costs of medical care in general, once it chose to subsidize the costs of childbearing, it must do so in a neutral fashion, not favoring those who choose to give birth over those who choose to end the pregnancy before the child is born; and

    Whereas, An underlying premise of the Court’s decision was that pregnant women who were eligible for Medicaid could not afford to pay for an abortion if Medicaid did not cover that procedure; and

    Whereas, Since the Court’s decision was issued, the state’s Medicaid funds have continuously been expended to pay for abortions for Medicaid-eligible pregnant women; and

    Whereas, According to information compiled by the Bureau of Medical Services of the Department of Health and Human Resources, Medicaid funds paid for a total of 1,081 abortions during fiscal year 2009 at a total cost of $302,881, and Medicaid funds paid for a total of 1,111 abortions during fiscal year 2010 at a total cost of $335,152 and Medicaid funds paid for a total of 1,189 abortions during fiscal year 2011 at a total cost of $354,134; and

    Whereas, When the Court’s decision was issued in 1993, Medicaid provided coverage for persons whose income was less than 26% of the federal poverty level; and

    Whereas, Since 1993 the standards for Medicaid eligibility have been relaxed and currently provide coverage for persons whose income is less than 138% of the federal poverty level and will be relaxed further on July 1, 2012 to provide coverage for persons whose income is less than 180% of the federal poverty level; and

    Whereas, The increase in the number of persons covered by Medicaid has resulted in Medicaid funds being used to pay for abortions for some persons who could afford to pay the cost without assistance; and

    Whereas, In the Court’s opinion Justice Workman acknowledged that when the United States Supreme Court recognized the right of women to make independent decisions to obtain abortions, it limited that right to “some time period” but did not specify what that time period was; and

    Whereas, The substantial increase in the number and costs of Medicaid-funded abortions is of concern to the House and when viewed in light of the substantial increase in the number of persons covered by Medicaid together with the substantial increase in medical understanding regarding the development of an unborn child, makes it necessary to re-examine the state’s policy and standards for using Medicaid funds to pay for abortions; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Delegates:

    That the West Virginia House of Delegates hereby expresses its concern over the steady growth in the number and cost of taxpayer funded abortions; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the House of Delegates acknowledges that the issue of abortion and the use of taxpayer funds are issues about which the citizens of West Virginia are also concerned; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That House of Delegates urges the Department of Health and Human Services to continue to monitor the number and costs of abortions funded by Medicaid and provide that information to the full Legislature and the citizens of West Virginia in a timely manner, but in no event later than June 30, 2012 and on or before June 30 of each succeeding fiscal year thereafter; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the House of Delegates re-examine the state’s policy and standards for using Medicaid funds to pay for abortions to determine if reasonable standards can be imposed upon the use of Medicaid funds for paying for abortions that do not violate the state’s constitution or the decision of its Supreme Court of Appeals.

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