A second West Virginia House committee has advanced a pro-life bill that would ban abortions, protecting the lives of unborn babies from conception.
The state legislature is holding a special session on a few political issues, including abortion. Knowing that the state’s old abortion ban is tied up in courts, supposedly for lack of clarity, Governor Jim Justice called on the legislature to pass a new abortion ban that would stand up in court following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
“From the moment the Supreme Court announced their decision in Dobbs, I said that I would not hesitate to call a Special Session once I heard from our Legislative leaders that they had done their due diligence and were ready to act,” Justice said in a statement. “As I have said many times, I very proudly stand for life and I believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting.”
Justice said he wanted the legislature to produce a pro-life bill 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.”
Yesterday, the House Health and Human Resources Committee passed an abortion ban that protects babies from abortions starting at fertilization — only allowing abortions in cases where the life of the mother is in danger and when the baby is severely disabled. The measure also makes it clear that ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are not abortions and can be treated under the law.
Now the House Judiciary Committee has signed off on the measure and it rejected an amendment from Democrats to allow killing babies in cases of rape or incest.
During an hours-long meeting Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Republicans overwhelmingly rejected Democrats’ amendment for a rape and incest exception, sending the abortion ban to the full House of Delegates. A similar proposal failed Monday in a different House committee.
“Men perpetrating such horrific acts makes me unsettled at times,” said Republican Del. Pat McGeehan, who noted he has a daughter. He voted against the exception. “It’s very disturbing and these are contentious questions we have to deal with. However, when we confront such evil, we cannot participate in evil itself.”
McGeehan said by creating exceptions, even for rape and incest, lawmakers would be sending the message that “the value of life is not unconditional.”
“An innocent life is still an innocent life, regardless of the evil act,” he said. “We have to have moral absolutism. The real question here is: Is it ever just to punish an innocent person for a crime committed by someone else? My answer is absolutely not.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Democrats sharply rejected one GOP lawmaker’s proposal for a rape and incest exception that would have permitted abortion up to six weeks gestation and required the assault to be reported to law enforcement.
The full House is scheduled to debate and vote on the bill later today.
One pro-life lawmaker said standing up for life was so important he was willing to risk upsetting members of his family.
Del. George Miller, R-Morgan, said his own grandchildren did not support his position on abortion and supported the same access to abortion as his Democratic colleague on the committee, but he felt it was more important to stand up for life by voting no on the rape/incest exception amendment.
“My granddaughter feels the same way you do,” Miller said, speaking to the minority members of the committee. “She just gave birth to my great-granddaughter a year ago. When the Supreme Court made their decision, she got on Facebook. She says ‘my choice, my body.’ And I voted no, because life means that much to me. I may lose her. I may lose them both, but life means that much to me. And that’s why I did it.”
The bill also puts a 48-hour waiting period in place and parental notification for the very rare instances abortion is allowed under the law.
Even though the state’s old abortion ban is tied up in court, the state is abortion free as the only abortion business in the state stopped killing babies. A leading pro-life group is fighting for the old ban.
As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.
Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.
Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.
Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.
Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.