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West Virginia state Senate poised to approve abortion ban

The West Virginia state Senate is poised to pass an abortion ban that imposes criminal penalties on abortion providers in a special legislative session called by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia governor's office
The West Virginia state Senate is poised to pass an abortion ban that imposes criminal penalties on abortion providers in a special legislative session called by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia governor's office

July 29 (UPI) -- A West Virginia bill banning abortions with exceptions for rape or incest up to 14 weeks of pregnancy is before the state Senate for a final vote Friday. The bill imposes criminal penalties on abortion providers.

The House of Delegates has already passed the bill.

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Democratic members of the West Virginia state Senate are upset that Republicans are speeding the abortion ban through without going to committee first.

Speaking during Thursday's floor session Democrat State Sen. Ron Stollings, a doctor, said many obstetrician gynecologists in the state are very worried about the ban with its criminal penalties. He warned it could make a shortage of medical professionals in the state worse.

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During a public hearing leading up to today's state Senate vote, 12-year-old Addison Gardner asked some West Virginia Republican lawmakers who say they are pro-life, "What about my life?"

"If a man decides that I'm an object and does unspeakable and tragic things to me, am I, a child, supposed to birth and carry another child?" she said in her 45 seconds allotted to speak on the abortion ban bill. "Am I to put my body through the physical trauma of pregnancy? Am I to suffer the mental implications, a child who had no say in what was being done with my body?"

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Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who called the the special legislative session to consider an abortion ban, said during a media briefing earlier this week that the abortion bill "is so important, it's off the chart. We need modernization to our law, and what we have on the books is ancient."

He was referring to a law from the 1800's that's still in place.

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