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Measure now heads to the full House for consideration

CHARLESTON — The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee today passed House Bill 4004, a bill banning abortion starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill is similar to the abortion ban passed by the state of Mississippi and brought to the U.S. Supreme Court last year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

“Throughout a pregnancy, a person’s health and well-being — not the whims of politicians — should guide important medical decisions,” said Emily Womeldorff, Constituency Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “West Virginia politicians are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court to dismantle the right to obtain an abortion and allow dangerous laws like these to take effect, overwhelmingly harming people of color, people experiencing financial hardship, and people who live in rural areas. We aren’t truly free unless we can make our own decisions, and it’s time for the people of West Virginia to push back against these attacks on our personal freedoms.”

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or weakens the federal rights established under Roe v. Wade, the legality of abortion will be up to each state. Twenty-six states are expected to swiftly ban or restrict access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, including West Virginia.

Many barriers can stand in the way of someone getting an abortion once they have made their decision, from not being able to afford it to travel distance to a clinic. Restrictions in some states have forced many clinics to shut down, so it can sometimes be weeks until someone can get an appointment. There is only one abortion clinic in West Virginia, forcing people to travel long distances across or out of the state.

The committee also advanced House Bill 4005 which would ban the sale of fetal tissue. It is already illegal to sell fetal tissue, and medical providers handle fetal tissue in accordance with state law.