Who approved the use of our state’s Capitol building for this purpose? Images displayed promoting abortion for all to see, Is this what West Virginia has become?
Two Charleston buildings will be lit up Friday night with a pro-abortion rights slideshow, part of a multi-state tour aimed at protecting abortion access and spotlighting personal abortion stories ahead of a potentially landmark Supreme Court ruling on abortion restrictions.
Organizers said that the images will be displayed on the Union Building (on the bank of the Kanawha River at Capitol Street) at 9 p.m. and on the state Capitol at 9:30 p.m.
The display is a joint venture of two reproductive health organizations, Advocates for Youth, a national group, and WV FREE.
It is part of what they’re calling the #1in3IllumiNation tour, designed to spotlight the fact that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
“We’re trying to end the stigma around abortion care,” said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, director of WV FREE. “While we are excited and heartened that they were interested in stopping in Charleston, it’s a little bit bittersweet because it really underscores the fact that West Virginia could become a state with as little access to reproductive health care as Texas.”
A Texas law, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, has forced more than half of the state’s abortion clinics to close, often resulting in hours-long drives and waiting lists for women seeking abortions.
The Texas law requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and requires abortion clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers. Proponents of the law claim the regulations are necessary for public health while opponents say they are a ruse designed to shut down clinics. The court will decide whether the law creates an “undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion before the fetus is viable.
West Virginia has two clinics that provide abortions, both in Charleston.
“We will reclaim the use of images that for too long have been used to silence and shame people about their abortion experiences,” said Deb Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth. “One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Their stories should light the way for the Supreme Court as it decides this important case.”
West Virginians for Life, an anti-abortion group, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
West Virginia has passed two laws in the last two years limiting abortion access — one banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and one banning the most common and safest type of second trimester abortion.
The slideshow tour began last week in Texas, and has had stops in Memphis, Nashville, Indianapolis and Columbus. It will conclude on Saturday in Washington with a rally outside the Supreme Court.
Diane Holley Brown, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration, said that they had not been contacted about the event at the Capitol and did not have it on their schedule. Organizers said it was not a large-scale event or rally and didn’t require notification.
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