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After last year’s veto, W.Va. ‘fetal pain bill’ is back

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham Jennifer Popik, legislative counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, sits on the House of Delegates chamber floor Thursday during a public hearing for the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham
Jennifer Popik, legislative counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, sits on the House of Delegates chamber floor Thursday during a public hearing for the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Facing a threat of veto, Republicans have once again introduced legislation that will ban abortions after 20 weeks.

The House Health Committee on Thursday held a public hearing on House Bill 2568, the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Committee members heard from 25 speakers opposing the bill, and only eight in support. Several speaking against the legislation drew from their own experiences.

“I made a legal, safe decision that was right for me,” said Danielle Hayes, who had an abortion at 17. She’s now a mother to a little girl. “I am not ashamed for the choice I have made.”

House Bill 2568 adds a new section of code that bans abortions 20 weeks after gestation. According to language in the bill, a fetus at 20 weeks gestation can feel pain. The bill says the state has “a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”

This isn’t the first attempt at passing this legislation. Last year, both chambers overwhelmingly passed a bill with similar language, but Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed it, saying courts in other states have ruled against similar bans. However, some speakers disagreed on whether those bans have been found unconstitutional…

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