Vote to Keep Quality Healthcare in WV | Journal-news

Lydia Johnson


Republicans in the West Virginia Legislature seem intent on depriving the women of our state of the freedom to obtain comprehensive health care. The current Republican bill about abortion would impose felony criminal penalties and large fines on doctors who provide care which results in end of a pregnancy.

​I myself am pro-choice, but you do not need to be so to find issue with this bill. There are impacts to it that go far beyond preventing someone from terminating a pregnancy. For example, drugs necessary to relieve severe pain from rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases can cause severe birth defects in a fetus or cause a miscarriage. If the majority of West Virginia Republican legislators have their way, if a doctor prescribed these drugs and it (unintentionally) caused the end of a pregnancy the doctor could face criminal charges. Faced with this type of potential legal action over simply providing thoughtful & comprehensive medical care to patients, why would doctors choose to stay in West Virginia? There is a demand for doctors everywhere and they could continue to practice medicine in a state where they will not face losing their freedom.

Our state is losing population already and Republicans talk about wanting to attract new residents and new businesses. I believe their insistence on a bill which will make doctors subject to criminal penalties for treating their patients, will not only deter new residents from coming to West Virginia but it will continue to push current residents out of the state. It is a cascading effect. Doctors especially will begin to leave, new doctors will not come to replace them (especially in our more rural areas). Businesses will not want to be located here because their female workers will not be assured that complete, comprehensive health care will be available to them. Work opportunities will become even more limited causing residents to migrate to other states where the jobs are.

When voting this November, I urge people to vote for candidates who have opposed this short sighted legislation. Vote to protect our freedom to get good health care in our State.

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