Friday, February 24, 2006

House Dems Hand GOP Another Issue: Staton Pronounces Bill to Close Abortion Parental Notification Loophole "Dead"

Reversing course from the last three years, the House of Delegates will not act on this year's top priority bill for West Virginians for Life.

House Majority Leader Rick Staton, D-WyomingHouse Majority Leader Rick Staton, D-Wyoming, today said the votes do not exist in the House to pass HB 4411. HB 4411 would close a gaping loophole in the state law requiring notification of at least one parent of an unemancipated minor who seeks an abortion prior to the procedure.

Under current law, a second doctor can interview a minor and issue a "physician waiver" that completely waives the parental notification requirement. Most states with parental notification or consent laws require a waiver to be granted by a court after a closed hearing in which a judge interviews an unemancipated minor to determine whether a waiver should be granted and to protect the minor from any abuse she may be suffering. HB 4411 would require parental notification waivers to be granted by a family court judge.

There may still be some hope of keeping this legislation alive via SB 120, the Senate version of this legislation. SB 120 has 19 sponsors, including the chairmen of both committees to which it has been referred.

In recent years, over 80% of House members and 94% of senators have voted for pro-life bills on the West Virginians for Life legislative agenda. This year, however, the Ruling Party has veered to the far left, rejecting bills to curb abortion, protect the traditional definition of marriage, reduce taxes, and many other important priorities of the mainstream of West Virginia.

I am sure Delegate Staton takes great pride in defeating this bill. He has long been a supporter of unfettered abortion on demand, along with such House leaders as Judiciary Committee Chairman Jon Amores, D-Kanawha, Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee Chair Virginia Mahan, D-Summers, Constitutional Revision Committee (which, by the way, has not had a meeting since January 2005) Vice Chair Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, and Finance Committee Vice Chairman John Doyle, D-Jefferson.