UPDATE (6:33 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2022): The West Virginia House Health Committee voted 16-6 to push their drafted abortion clarification bill to the Judiciary Committee for further debate.
On Monday, the House Health Committee met to address Gov. Justice’s call to clarify and modernize the current abortion laws in West Virginia.
This came after Judge Tera Salango granted an injunction to block a West Virginia abortion law from the 1800s.
The bill calls for a total ban on abortion along with making it illegal for doctors to perform abortions and also give out abortion medications. It says it will not punish the mother.
The only exceptions in the bill are for fetal anomalies, ectopic pregnancies and medical emergencies. Along with no exceptions for rape, incest or the patient’s mental health. An amendment for an exception to include rape and incest was proposed, but it failed.
The bill says that miscarriage, stillbirth, use of existing established cell lines derived from aborted human embryos or fetuses, accidental death through medical treatment, in vitro fertilization and human fetal tissue research is not an abortion.
The draft clarified several terms regarding abortion.
According to the West Virginia Legislature Blog, the new definition for abortion is, “the termination of a pregnancy using an instrument, medicine, drugs or other substances/device.”
They say a “medical emergency” will be defined as, “a condition that so complicates the medical condition of a patient as to necessitate an immediate abortion to avert the patient’s death or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.”
It says contraception will remain legal in West Virginia, including Plan B. It will totally prohibit abortion through medication, even under exceptions.
All of the Democrat amendments to ease the abortion restrictions were voted against.
The bill now moves to the Judiciary Committee. After that, it will be sent to the House floor to debate.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—An effort to clarify a centuries-old abortion law will now be made by the West Virginia State Legislature.
In a press release, Gov. Jim Justice announced that he issued a proclamation amending his call to the West Virginia State Legislature. In addition to discussing Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed personal income tax cut, the legislature is now being asked to “clarify and modernize the abortion laws currently existing as part of the West Virginia Code, to ensure a coherent, comprehensive framework governing abortions and attendant family services and support to expecting mothers to provide the citizens of this State more certainty in the application of such laws.”
On June 29, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said that West Virginia’s abortion law from the 1800s, which would make it a felony to obtain or perform an abortion in the state, was indeed enforceable. But on July 18, a Kanawha Couty Circuit judge granted an injunction to block the law from taking effect.
Morrisey then filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia for a stay in the Kanawha County judge’s ruling.
The special session will start at 12:00 p.m. on Mondaay.
To read the full amendment to the call, click here.