WV lawmakers advance tough abortion bill in wake of reversal of rules

House delegates in West Virginia have introduced a bill in the state senate that imposes abortion restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade federal procedural protection.

The final House vote was 69-23.

House Bill 302 is expected to be considered in the upper house as soon 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 terminate the pregnancy. In recent years, West Virginia law had permitted abortion up to 22 weeks gestation. The bill maintains criminal penalties of three to 10 years incarceration for medical providers who perform abortions — the main provision of an 1800s law that had lain dormant while Roe was observed — but clarifies that the pregnant woman would not be charged.

The bill allows exceptions for a non-medically 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 prevent the death of the patient or to avoid serious risk of harm to a major bodily function.

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

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

The bill also does not prevent the use of contraceptives.

“I’m pro-life because I believe every life has value,” Republican delegate Brandon Steele said in the article. “I’m not pro-life for another reason. I believe that every life is a gift from God from above, no matter how it originated or came into being.

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

ACOG was particularly concerned about an amendment added to HB 302 by the House on Wednesday that allows abortion in cases of sexual assault or incest, but only before the 14th week of gestation and only if the crime is reported to the law enforcement.

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

If no amendments pass when senators vote, the bill will go to Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s office.

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