The West Virginia House of Delegates voted today to protect babies and their mothers in West Virginia with limited exceptions. The vote on HB 302 was 69-23.
West Virginians for Life Political Liaison Karen Cross said, “The WV Senate still has to pass the bill, but we expect the final bill to protect the lives of both unborn children and their mothers.”
For background, as a result of Dobbs, abortion law in WV was once again governed by an 1848 law. Thus, by the end of June 2022, abortion was prohibited in the state. Abortion advocates immediately filed a suit on behalf of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, to which Attorney General Morrisey responded with a strong pro-life stand. His office sought to ensure that abortion would remain illegal in WV before the case was decided.
But on July 18, 2022, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Salango granted an injunction to the abortion-minded plaintiffs in the Women’s Health Center case. The result was that the state’s single abortion clinic, located in Charleston, reopened. AG Morrisey immediately sought to stay the injunction. To date, the State Supreme Court has not taken up the case.
In the days that followed, Governor Justice added abortion to a special session, and HB 302 began a rapid progression through committees and onto the House Floor for today’s vote.
“The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision returned abortion law to the people’s representatives in the state legislatures where it belongs,” stated West Virginians for Life President Wanda Franz. “Today the WV House of Delegates has passed a bill that will save thousands of babies’ lives here in WV. WVFL thanks the pro-life legislators who support protection for all human life.”
HB 302, the bill to clarify West Virginia’s abortion laws, must still make it through the Senate.