Courtesy Photo People from across West Virginia gather for the Pro-Life Rally at the state Capitol Feb. 5.
By Colleen Rowan CHARLESTON—Bishop Michael J. Bransfield commended the West Virginia Senate Feb. 9 for passing Senate Joint Resolution 12, by a 25-9 vote, for a constitutional amendment on abortion funding. The proposed amendment would allow the state’s voters to add to the West Virginia Constitution “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” A two-thirds majority in the West Virginia House of Delegates is needed for the proposed amendment to make the ballot in the November election. Earlier that week, West Virginians from all walks of life and from around the state gathered at the state Capitol in Charleston Feb. 5 for the pro-life cause at the annual Pro-Life Rally. Sponsored each year by West Virginians for Life, the gathering featured a number of speakers including National Right to Life Political Director Karen Cross, WVFL President Wanda Franz, Ph.D., and WVFL Executive Director Pam Stanley, and legislators. WVFL was working for the passage of House Bill 4012/Senate Bill 417, No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion (the bill to restrict Medicaid funding of abortion). Testifying that day at the House Judiciary Committee public hearing at the state Capitol on behalf of the Catholic Conference of West Virginia was Father Brian Crenwelge, vice rector of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston. “I do not come here today to impose my religious beliefs on you, but I am here to speak of our moral duty as human persons—our common morality, which concerns our ability to distinguish right from wrong, regardless of our religious beliefs or background,” Father Crenwelge said in his testimony. “Abortion violates the natural law written in our hearts to do good and avoid evil by abusing the inherent human rights of the unborn child. We desperately need to change the Medicaid policy to stop funding abortions in West Virginia. Therefore, the Catholic Conference of West Virginia supports the policy of the federal government and of many states that limits the cases in which tax dollars can be used to pay for abortion. In the case of Medicaid, West Virginia’s policy is much more open to funding abortions than that of 32 states and the District of Columbia. It is high time West Virginia’s policy join that of the majority of states.” Father Crenwelge also led the prayer at the Pro-Life Rally at the Capitol. At the rally, Teen Essay Contest winners read their winning entries, and attendees participated in the annual Prayer Processional carrying crosses.