Caroline MacGregor Published

Senate Considers Abortion Bill Friday For Third Reading

Capitol Dome & West Virginia State Capitol Bell - WV.jpg

West Virginia’s bill that would make abortion illegal in the state with few exceptions, now sits in the Senate with a third reading planned for Friday.

House Bill 302 passed the state House of Delegates Wednesday by a vote of 69-23.

It moved to the Senate late Wednesday where a first reading of the bill was heard.

The Senate held its second reading of the bill Thursday morning before adjourning until Friday at 1 p.m.

The bill is expected to be read a third time with a right to amend. At that point, floor debate can begin.

A final vote could take place on Friday. The current version includes a provision for victims of rape and incest that passed narrowly. If the Senate amends the House version, the bill will still need to return to the House for approval.

Following Thursday’s second reading of the bill, during member remarks, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said physicians and gynecologists in West Virginia are “very worried” about the proposed new law. He urged his colleagues to carefully consider the “unintended consequences” of passing the bill as it currently stands.

Stollings shared a letter from the chair and vice chair of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists who expressed their strong reservations about the bill.

“We understand there is a provision for victims of rape or incest to terminate pregnancies up to 14 weeks. Unfortunately this exception is only allowed if rape or incest is reported. For a variety of reasons, most women and girls who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and reproductive coercion do not report the attack, or ongoing attacks to law enforcement. This law would be yet another failure to care for these women or girls.”

No senators spoke in favor of the bill during member remarks.