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Reactions mixed to abortion measures working through West Virginia legislature


The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Women’s rights advocates and pro-life advocates filled the West Virginia Capitol Monday to oppose and support two measures that would restrict access to abortion.

Nearly 50 people filled the House of Delegates chamber Monday for a House Judiciary Committee public hearing on House Bill 4012, which would prohibit the use of Medicaid funds from covering abortions unless it would save the life of the mother. The bill would mirror the federal restrictions imposed by the Hyde Amendment, despite a 1993 West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decision that Medicaid must cover a full range of medical services, including abortion.

Advocates then headed upstairs to hear the Senate Judiciary Committee discuss a resolution that would amend the state Constitution to specifically state that abortions are not a protected right. The resolution mirrors a Tennessee amendment that has recently been upheld in a federal appeals court.

The resolution passed out of committee without much discussion.

The majority of speakers during the hearing were opposed to the bill, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, WV Free, the League of Women Voters of West Virginia, Planned Parenthood of the South Atlantic, Women’s Health Services of West Virginia, the National Association of Social Workers, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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