West Virginia Lawmakers Advance Strict Abortion Bill in Wake of Roe Reversal

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House Delegates in West Virginia have advanced a bill to the state Senate that puts restrictions on abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade’s federal protection of the procedure.

The final House vote was 69-23. 

House Bill 302 is slated to be taken up in the upper chamber as early as Friday, according to the West Virginia Metro News:

House Bill 302 encompasses a range of abortion policies, eliminating any period after conception for a choice to end pregnancy. In recent years, West Virginia law had allowed abortion up to 22 weeks of gestation. The bill maintains criminal penalties of three to 10 years of incarceration for medical providers who perform abortions — the main provision of a law from the 1800s that had been inactive while Roe was observed — but specifies that the pregnant woman would not be charged.

The bill allows exceptions for a nonmedically viable fetus, an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus, or a medical emergency, which is defined as a condition that requires an immediate abortion to avert the patient’s death or to avoid serious risk of damage to a major bodily function.

The bill specifies several things that are not considered an abortion: a miscarriage, a stillbirth, use of established cell lines derived from aborted human embryos, treatment by a licensed medical provider that accidentally terminates or severely injures the fetus and in vitro fertilization.

The article noted that a majority of delegates voted down several amendments, including one that made exceptions for rape or incest.

The bill also does not prevent the use of contraceptives.

“I am pro life because I believe every life has value,” Republican Delegate Brandon Steele said in the article. “I’m not pro life for any other reason. I believe that every life is a gift from God above, regardless of how it came into being or came into existence.”

The Weirton Daily Times also reported on the bill, including concern expressed by the left-wing, pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):

Of particular concern for ACOG was an amendment added to HB 302 by the House on Wednesday that allows for abortion in the instances of sexual assault or incest but only before the 14th week of gestation and only if the crime is reported to law enforcement.

“Most women and girls who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and reproductive coercion do not report the attack or ongoing attacks to law enforcement,” the ACOG letter said.“This law would be yet another failure to care for these women and girls from the physician’s perspective.”

If no amendments are adopted when senators gavel in, the bill will go to the desk of Republican Gov. Jim Justice. 

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