cloudy.png
Tuesday January 31st, 2023 6:26PM

West Virginia lawmakers OK abortion ban with few exceptions

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Legislature passed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions Tuesday, approving a bill that several members of the Republican supermajority said they hope will make it impossible for the state’s only abortion clinic to continue to offer the procedure.

“It is going to shut down that abortion clinic, of that I feel certain,” Republican Sen. Robert Karnes said on the Senate floor, amid shouts from protesters standing outside the chamber doors. “I believe it’s going to save a lot of babies.”

Under the legislation, rape and incest victims would be able to obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy, but only if they report to law enforcement first. Such victims who are minors would have until 14 weeks to terminate a pregnancy and must report to either law enforcement or a physician.

Rape and incest victims would have to report the assault within 48 hours of getting an abortion, and a patient must present a copy of a police report or notarized letter to a physician before the procedure can be performed.

Abortions also would be allowed in cases of medical emergencies.

West Virginia joins the ranks of states moving to ban abortion in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to end the constitutional right to privacy that protected abortion rights nationwide. That left it to states to decide whether abortion should remain legal, which in turn has ignited intense state-level debates, especially in states controlled by Republicans, about when to impose the ban, whether to carve out exceptions in cases involving rape, incest or the health of the woman giving birth, and how those exceptions should be implemented.

The West Virginia bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who has signed several anti-abortion bills into law since taking office in 2017. Lawmakers resumed debate on the bill Tuesday after failing to come to an agreement in late July, giving up the chance for the state to become the first to approve new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June removing its protected status as a constitutional right.

Both the Senate and the House of Delegates speedily approved the bill, after several hours of debate. Dozens of protesters wearing pink shirts reading “bans off our bodies” and holding signs reading “abortion is healthcare" staged a rally in the Capitol rotunda while lawmakers were in session.

Some of the group sat in the gallery as legislators discussed the bills, with some shouting down to legislators in frustration as they spoke in support of the bill. Legislative leadership asked that the onlookers remain silent as lawmakers conducted business. At one point, at least one protester was escorted out of the building by police.

Lawmakers inserted several provisions they said were specifically targeted at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, which was the state’s first abortion clinic when it opened in 1976 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade case. It has existed as the state’s sole abortion clinic for years, making it the ever-increasing target of anti-abortion lawmakers and protesters.

The bill states that surgical abortions can only be performed at a state-licensed hospital by a physician with hospital privileges. Anybody else who performs an abortion, including nurse practitioners and other medical professionals, could face three to 10 years in prison. A physician who performs an illegal abortion could lose their medical license.

Pregnant people who obtain illegal abortions will not face any form of prosecution under the bill, however.

Kaylen Barker, spokesperson for the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, said the clinic will not be shutting down, even if the staff is no longer able to provide abortions. Like many clinics that perform abortions, the facility did not offer the procedure daily.

Most days are dedicated to services like gender-affirming hormone therapy, HIV prevention and treatment and routine gynecological care — cervical exams, cancer screenings — mostly for low-income patients on Medicaid with nowhere else to go.

Democratic Sen. Owens Brown, West Virginia’s only Black senator, spoke against the bill before it passed the Senate. He said when he looks around at his fellow lawmakers, he sees a body that is overwhelmingly comprised of white, middle-aged to elderly men who are middle-class or above.

Brown compared groups of men passing legislation that overwhelmingly impacts women to laws that were passed by white lawmakers when slavery was legal in the U.S. He said “all laws are not good laws made by men.”

“That’s somewhat irrational in many ways to be able to apply a law that will never apply to you,” he said to his fellow lawmakers. "It’s easy for you to sit there and do that because you will never have to face the consequences of your actions.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
West Virginia lawmakers OK abortion ban with few exceptions
West Virginia’s Legislature has passed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions
4:48PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Family of Colorado man shot by police wants accountability
Family members are asking for accountability in the death of a 22-year-old Colorado man who was shot by police earlier this year after calling 911 for roadside assistance
4:35PM ( 39 minutes ago )
In 2nd Jones trial, FBI agent at Sandy Hook breaks down
An FBI agent struggled to control his emotions as he described on the witness stand seeing bodies inside Sandy Hook elementary school -- a scene that the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones later claimed was staged by actors
4:29PM ( 45 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Starbucks to revamp stores to speed service, boost morale
Starbucks plans to spend $450 million next year to make its North American stores more efficient and less complex
5:12PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Blankenship loses job with Colts after missed FG in Houston
Rodrigo Blankenship's tenure with the Indianapolis Colts is over
5:00PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Markets shudder on dashed inflation hopes; Dow falls 1,250
The stock market fell the most since June 2020 following Wall Street’s humbling realization that inflation is not slowing as much as hoped
4:44PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Ukrainian troops keep up pressure on fleeing Russian forces
Ukrainian troops are piling pressure on retreating Russian forces, pressing a counteroffensive that has produced major gains and a stunning blow to Moscow’s military prestige
3:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sailor killed at Pearl Harbor is laid to rest, at last
A 21-year-old sailor has been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery more than 80 years after he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
3:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
Suns owner Sarver suspended 1 year, fined $10M after probe
The NBA suspended Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after an investigation found that he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
3:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Hearing reset for official jailed in Vegas reporter slaying
A judge has postponed the arraignment of an elected official accused in the stabbing death of a Las Vegas investigative reporter who was attacked outside his home
12:38PM ( 4 hours ago )
R. Kelly lawyer: Prosecution case relies on ‘perjurers’
R. Kelly’s lead attorney has told jurors that federal prosecutors’ case accusing the singer of producing child pornography, enticing minors for sex and rigging his 2008 child porn trial largely rests on the testimony of perjurers and blackmailers
12:25PM ( 4 hours ago )
At 50, TV's ‘The Waltons’ still stirs fans’ love, nostalgia
“The Waltons,” one of TV's most popular and enduring programs, turns 50 on Wednesday
11:52AM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
GOP's Graham unveils nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks
Upending the midterm elections, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has introduced a nationwide abortion ban
3:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live updates: Queen's coffin arrives at Buckingham Palace
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II has arrived at Buckingham Palace in London after the 96-year-old monarch’s death in her beloved Scotland last week
3:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
US: Russia spent $300M to covertly influence world politics
The State Department says Russia has covertly spent more than $300 million since 2014 to try to influence politicians and other officials in more than two dozen countries
2:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Arrests of UK anti-royal protesters spur free-speech debate
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a handful of people in Britain have been detained by police for expressing anti-monarchy views
8:18AM ( 8 hours ago )
Tentative deal reached to end Seattle teachers strike
Seattle Public Schools says it has reached a tentative agreement with the union for teachers who went on strike last week over issues like pay and classroom support
6:48AM ( 10 hours ago )
US leaders avoid victory dance in Ukraine combat advances
U.S. leaders from President Joe Biden on down are being careful not to declare a premature victory after a Ukrainian offensive forced Russian troops into a messy retreat in the north
6:06AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Family of Colorado man shot by police wants accountability
Family members are asking for accountability in the death of a 22-year-old Colorado man who was shot by police earlier this year after calling 911 for roadside assistance
4:35PM ( 40 minutes ago )
In 2nd Jones trial, FBI agent at Sandy Hook breaks down
An FBI agent struggled to control his emotions as he described on the witness stand seeing bodies inside Sandy Hook elementary school -- a scene that the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones later claimed was staged by actors
4:29PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Jury gets R. Kelly's child pornography and trial-fixing case
Jurors have begun deliberating in R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago on charges accusing him of making child pornography and rigging his 2008 child porn trial
4:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Expert: School shooter's mother drank heavily in pregnancy
One of the nation's leading researchers on the effects of fetal alcohol abuse says the birth mother of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz drank more in pregnancy than any woman he has documented
3:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Census: Inequality last year grew, but child poverty dropped
Income inequality in the U.S. increased last year for the first time in more than a decade
3:16PM ( 1 hour ago )