WV Senate passes pain-capable abortion ban, bill returns to WV H - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

LATEST: Full Legislature passes pain-capable abortion ban

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The full Legislature has passed the pain-capable abortion ban, and the measure now awaits action from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. 

Original story:

A bill that would protect unborn children capable of feeling pain was sent back to the West Virginia House of Delegates for its agreement.

Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, asked for the Senate Clerk to read aloud each bill scheduled for a third reading in its entirety, which any lawmaker is allowed to do, but it was indicated that the move was an effort to delay the vote on the pain-capable abortion bill. The measure was moved to the front of the bills on third reading and read in its entirety. Wells then withdrew his motion for all bills to be read word-for-word by the clerk.

House Bill 4588 passed the West Virginia Senate with an amendment that, if the bill becomes law, would change the criminal conviction of a doctor performing an abortion from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, also amended the bill to make clear that a non-elective termination of a pregnancy in an emergency room would not be punishable by law.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 29-5. It now returns to the House of Delegates for lawmakers there to decide whether or not they concur with the Senate's changes.

Senators Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson and Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton voted against the bill.

Wells spoke after the Senate passed the bill.

"To me what we really need (in the Senate) are people willing to stand up and really hold their convictions," Wells said after the bill was passed. 

Sen. Donald Cookman, D-Hampshire, a former judge and prosecutor, spoke after the  bill was passed. He voted for it but said those who are anti-abortion need to consider adoption and other ways of protecting a child.

"I've never seen an abortion performed, but I have seen a newborn baby strangled by a mother," Cookman said. "I've seen a lot of things in 40-plus years."

Cookman said programs that help children in need should be considered in all communities throughout the state.