WV Delays Chance to Pass 1st New Bill since Abortion Ruling

July 30, 2022

News Release | AP

CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia lawmakers passed up the chance Friday to become the first state to approve new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month removing its protected status as a constitutional right.

The Republican-dominated Senate adopted its version of a bill along with amendments, one of which removes criminal penalties for physicians who perform illegal abortions.

Late Friday night the House of Delegates, which passed its bill Wednesday, refused to concur with the Senate amendments, instead asking for a conference committee to iron out differences among the bills.

Both chambers then adjourned until they are called back sometime next month.

Several GOP-led states had “trigger” abortion bans in place in advance of the court ruling, but West Virginia lawmakers are taking action because of legal uncertainty over whether a ban from the 1800s that was upended by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision could be enforced now.

As in other states dominated by socially conservative lawmakers, there’s not much question about whether abortion will be banned generally now that states have the power to do so — but whether the ban will apply to pregnancies caused by rape or incest.