CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—A bill clarifying abortion laws in the State of West Virginia was passed by the House of Delegates on Wednesday in a 69-23 vote.
After hours of debating, House Delegates shared their thoughts on the final decision.
“It’s a freedom for women to make decisions for themselves that has been taken away by the West Virginia House of Delegates,” said House Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha).
House Delegate Kathie Hess Crouse (R-Putnam) spoke from the opposing side saying, “I think they’ll have some great lives coming about. You never know what a baby is capable of. We’ve ended so many lives over the years, and who knows what great things those children would’ve been able to do.”
On Monday, the West Virginia House Health Committee voted 16-6 to push their drafted abortion clarification bill to the Judiciary Committee for further debate. The Judiciary Committee, subsequently, pushed the bill to the full House on Tuesday.
The bill calls for a 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 exceptions in the bill are for fetal anomalies, ectopic pregnancies and medical emergencies. An amendment was also added on Wednesday that would allow for exceptions for rape and incest as long as certain criteria are met.
“It places requirements on victims of rape and incest. I don’t think that’s for us to decide. The men in this chamber don’t know what that means. [They] don’t have that life experience,” Pushkin said. “Personally, I think the government should stay out of people’s business.”
On the case of rape and incest, Crouse said, “I do feel life begins at conception. I’ve had babies. I’ve had five children. One out of wedlock. Some in a bad marriage. Some in a very happy marriage. And I can’t value one of their lives over any of the others.”
The bill will now move to the West Virginia State Senate, where it can be amended again.