In the eleventh hour, a bill banning abortion based on a person’s supposed reason for seeking it passes the final chamber and heads to the governor’s desk
CHARLESTON, W.V. — With five minutes left of the legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers last night passed Senate Bill 468, a bill that bans abortion based on the supposed reason behind a person’s decision. The abortion ban now heads to the governor for his signature.
A so-called “reason ban,” S.B. 468 prevents a person from having an abortion if they are seeking one because of the results of prenatal testing. While the bill includes an exception for lethal fetal diagnoses, it does not include an exception for other diagnoses that would lead to an early, painful death. As a result, even when confronted with devastating diagnoses such as Tay-Sachs disease, parents would not have the option to end a pregnancy. Additionally, physicians who violate the provision would be subject to the loss of their medical license.
Statement from Emily Womeldorff, Constituency Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic:
“This abortion ban further erodes the right of people in West Virginia to make decisions about their own bodies, their families, and their futures. Politicians have shamefully exploited people living with disabilities in an effort to further restrict and stigmatize abortion. Government officials should never have control over private medical decisions or tie the hands of trained medical professionals. We will never stop fighting for the people of West Virginia to have access to quality, affordable health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, menstrual products, and abortion services.”
Lawmakers in both chambers also attempted to pass a measure banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy before session ended at midnight on Saturday. Ultimately, their last-ditch efforts to do so, including by amending S.B. 468 to include a 15-week ban in the House, were unsuccessful in the final hours.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“With this bill, politicians have exploited people with disabilities in an attempt to distract us from their real intent: to ban abortion in West Virginia. In the final days of session, lawmakers’ political antics have demonstrated their commitment to restricting people’s access to health care by any means necessary. Time and again, politicians across the country have proven they will stop at nothing to do just that, even if it means subverting democracy — by kicking people out of the gallery and passing a ban in the dead of night like they did in Florida, or by attempting to ram through another unpopular 15-week ban as they tried here in West Virginia. This is no coincidence: There’s no state in the union where banning abortion is popular, and these cruel and dangerous laws do not reflect the will of the people. Politicians in West Virginia, Florida, Texas, and every other state know this — and they push these cruel bans anyway at the expense of their constituents’ health and futures.”
Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic (PPVSAT) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. PPVSAT engages in educational and electoral activity, including public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.