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Introduced Version House Resolution 302 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

HOUSE RESOLUTION 302

(By Delegates McGeehan, Barnhart, Booth, Burkhammer, Cannon, Clark, Conley, Cooper, Crouse, Dean, Fast, Gearhart, Hamrick, Honaker, Horst, Howell, Jennings, Kessinger, Kimble, Kimes, Longanacre, Mallow, Martin, Maynor, Mazzocchi, Paynter, Phillips, Pinson, Pritt, Reynolds, Rowan, Steele, Sypolt, B. Ward, and G. Ward)

[Introduced September 13, 2022]

 

Providing for a statement of the sentiments of the House of Delegates upon the passage of HB 302, West Virginia's law governing abortion.

Whereas, Through Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court of the United States effectively granted every American woman a constitutional right to abortion, which individual states could restrict or expand, but never eliminate entirely; and

            Whereas, The Supreme Court has overturned these decisions as attempts to legislate through the judicial power, has declared itself ignorant as to the moral character of the act of abortion, and has returned the question of abortion to the States and their elected representatives; and

Whereas, The consequence of this change is the neutralization of those West Virginia laws, now irrelevant, which limited and restricted judicially created abortion access in the past, and

Whereas, The attention to abortion’s legality in West Virginia has now rightfully centered on what preceded Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, whereby our State’s law implicitly declares the act of abortion immoral for a just society; and

Whereas, West Virginians have historically rejected the status of abortion as a “right”, which rejection has been most recently and explicitly confirmed in 2018, with the electorate passing an amendment to the state constitution, specifically denying that the state constitution recognizes a right to abortion; therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Delegates:

That this Legislature reaffirms West Virginia’s historic rejection of abortion as an act ill-fitting for a peaceful and virtuous people, as a society in which abortion is a right is one which devalues the source of its own existence—its mothers and their children; and, be it     

Further Resolved, That the maintenance of a peaceful and prosperous society depends upon the subordination of power and interest to the well-being of mothers, as their bearing and rearing of children determines the existence and quality of our common life together with infinitely greater efficacy than any federal or state policy; and, be it        

Further Resolved, That we are cognizant that, as an institution, motherhood is prior to the state, and, as such, the state must work to serve mothers and their interests, as the health of any state can be determined, in the main, by their health and happiness; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the now defunct legal opinion that mothers must be able to abort their children, regardless of what a state’s people have historically believed and legislated regarding the question, inverted this common sense; and, be it      

Further Resolved, That rather than protecting the very source of our common life, the overreach of the Court allowed powerful interests to devalue motherhood into a mere option, without privilege or special importance; and, be it   

Further Resolved, That the previous decisions of the United States Supreme Court effectively empowered those who would describe motherhood as merely a fungible good that could and should be sacrificed to their own interests; including, most obviously, the interests of those private entities which rely on the labor of women and find their capacity to become mothers detrimental to their goals, the interests of those who directly profit from the procurement of abortion, and the interests of those men who would enjoy women merely as sexual partners without becoming partners in their sacrifice as mothers; and, be it         

Further Resolved, That such a radical individualism is inconsistent with West Virginia’s tradition of honoring those vocations which contribute more directly and more fundamentally to the common good than do others—such as emergency responders and members of the armed services; and, be it        

Further Resolved, That by giving us life, motherhood surpasses even the sacrifices inherent in these esteemed vocations; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the state, therefore, ought to treat mothers accordingly with their sacrifices; and, be it

Further Resolved, That we are cognizant that motherhood imposes many obligations upon women; and, be it  

Further Resolved, That among these are that mothers are obliged to care for their children, that all decent governments must recognize and enforce this obligation alongside the obligation of fathers, and that parents must provide for the health, safety, education, and emotional well-being of their children; and, be it     

Further Resolved, That motherhood does not impose obligations only upon women, nor only upon fathers, but upon all of society, as when a woman becomes a mother she becomes the rightful recipient of society’s care and solicitude; and, be it            

Further Resolved, That she has a right to this care and solicitude, which empowers her in her ability to care for her children, and at the least, this right demands that the state protect her from powerful interests that would pressure her, through threats or promises, to reject her elevated position and return her to the ranks of “normal” citizens; and be it    

Further Resolved, That society’s obligation goes beyond such minimal protections offered by the state; and, be it    

Further Resolved, That society must positively serve mothers in their most profound and important vocation; and, be it

Further Resolved, That West Virginia’s historic rejection of abortion implicitly recognizes the obligation a mother has to her unborn child, and in doing so, it harmonizes with the pre-Roe mores and social norms which did, and still do, characterize the people of West Virginia, who do not countenance the neglect of children at any stage of life; and, be it          

Further Resolved, That we reiterate that our law must always emphasize, in a greater way, the obligation the rest of society has to its mothers, upon whose sacrifices it depends, and whose greater need demands greater care; and, be it

Further Resolved, That therefore, this legislature affirms that the law should not center on the punishment of the mother who undergoes an abortion, but rather punish those with intent to destroy her unborn child; and, be it

Further Resolved, That therefore the law ought to designate as criminal the abortionist, the propagandist, the boss, or anyone else who would abuse their position of relative power over a mother; making rewards of money, personal fidelity, career advancement, power, prestige, or any other good dependent on the destruction of her unborn child; and, be it

Further Resolved, That it was formerly a wisdom common to all participants of the abortion debate that “no woman wants an abortion”, and that even those who otherwise promoted it unreservedly defended their position as one which granted women the capacity to escape some evil—such as poverty, social exclusion, or abuse; and, be it

Further Resolved, That women should never have to make such a hard bargain, and that those persons act detrimentally to fundamental social morals, who present motherhood as an obstacle to an otherwise happy life; and, be it

Further Resolved, That just governments have long asserted that they have the duty to protect women from those who would use their relative power in order to “convince” them to perform acts against their conscience; and, be it

Further Resolved, By returning to our historic rejection of abortion, this legislature recognizes that this duty extends to motherhood; and, be it

Further Resolved, That it takes up the power of the law for the sake of mothers, who do not normally want abortion, and against those that would use their power and influence to make motherhood seem untenable, rather than make abortion seem unnecessary; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the criminalization of abortion must be only the beginning of West Virginia’s post-Roe initiatives; and, be it

Further Resolved, That we must turn now to the positive protection and flourishing of mothers, as a return to the most fundamental reasons for the existence of government; and, be it

Further Resolved, That as West Virginians are a moral and decent people, we must now accept the legislative challenge that this decency demands.

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