Randy Yohe Published

Public Hearing On Abortion Law Debate Highly Charged, Emotional

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More than 100 people signed up to speak at a public hearing Wednesday on the abortion bill.

With so many wanting to speak, each person was given 45 seconds. Several were escorted out of the chamber by police for running overtime.

Several of the women who spoke said they have had one or multiple abortions. Others said not having an abortion made their lives better.

Rev. Emily Harden, a Presbyterian minister, said she did not regret her two abortions.

“They’ve made my life better. They’ve made my children’s lives better,” Harden said. “It is perfectly acceptable within my religious faith that I’ve done this. The way that we are using religion to make laws that govern our bodies is truly evil. And I hope that you all know that the blood of West Virginians will be on your hands.”

Lorie Lugursky, with West Virginians for Life, said she got pregnant at 15 and was told abortion was her best choice.

“Wrong. At five months pregnant laying on an abortionist table, God saved my baby girl,” Lugursky said. “The abortionist told me to get out as I was being uncooperative. And my daughter now, praise God, is a mother of three. She’s a pro life warrior.

Sean O’Leary, Senior Policy Analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy spoke of cause and effect.

“Too often, policies in the state disproportionately harm vulnerable people, abortion bans are no different,” O’Leary said. “Seventy five percent of people who seek abortions are low income people without access to family work supports like parental leave or affordable childcare. Over half have recently gone through disruptive life events such as death of a family member or job loss. Most already have a child when access to abortion is denied. The consequences are profound.”

Tranae Mathis listed her representation as a servant of Jesus Christ.

“We as women know that two pink lines mean that we are carrying life and abortion stops that beating heart,” Mathis said. “The goal of an abortion is always prenatal death, and the baby is the only one with no bodily autonomy because her mother has deemed her insignificant.”

The public hearing was requested by legislators as a part of the proceedings for House Bill 302, called by the governor to clarify the state’s conflicting abortion laws.