Why the Abortion Ban Shouldn’t Have Passed
CHARLESTON, West Virginia (WBOY) — The West Virginia House and Senate passed a bill that bans most abortions in the state, but not all lawmakers supported the bill.
Last August, the House and Senate passed abortion bills but did not agree to send one to the governor to sign into law. This week, the final changes were made before HB 302 was agreed on Tuesday.
After the bill passed the Senate on Tuesday, a group of Senate Democrats held a press conference to air their thoughts. Here’s why Democrats in the West Virginia Legislative Assembly opposed the most recent version of the bill.
Almost impossible “exceptions”
Senator Richard Lindsey (D – District 08) said that despite the bill being called “a bill with exceptions,” he doesn’t see it that way. The bill provides exceptions for fetal anomalies, medical emergencies, non-viable fetuses, and rape and incest, but certain criteria must be met for these exceptions: Abortions must be performed in a hospital within eight weeks for adults and 14 weeks for minors.
“According to the wording of the bill, there is an exception, an allowance for an abortion procedure if the person has been raped, if they are a minor … if an abortion can take place within 14 weeks of the incident, and if she’re an adult, within 8 weeks.”
According to Lindsey, even in these cases, doctors would demand medical reports of the sexual assault from law enforcement before the procedure, which are nearly impossible to obtain within 14 weeks. “I’ve spoken to my district attorneys,” Lindsey said, “and it’s not happening.” These reports are not made public until there is a prosecution, Lindsey said, “and eight weeks is not enough for an adult! Fourteen weeks is not enough for a child.
Lindsey also pointed out that 65% of rapes go unreported, 65% of rape victims are children, and 70% occur in the home. This means that 65% of rape victims, who are mostly children, would not be eligible for an abortion. “You don’t have to travel the world for 45 years as I have to understand there are reasons why these horrific circumstances go unreported to the authorities.”
Not their choice
Sen. Stephen Baldwin (D – District 10, Minority Leader) said the government shouldn’t be making decisions about abortion in the first place.
“We just shouldn’t be making these decisions. You know, I have personal beliefs about this; I have religious beliefs about this, but we as politicians shouldn’t be making these personal, intimate, private health decisions for people when we have no idea of the particular medical circumstances of each case. . ”
Negative effect on the OBGYN workforce
Dr. Ron Stollings (D-Boone) said the bill will really affect medical staff. Birthplaces are already thin in West Virginia, and Dr. Stallings fears the bill will only intensify those problems and cause new mothers and families to lose quality of care.
“My concern is more, not the person who wants to have an abortion – an elective abortion – but my concern is the family, the new family, who wants to have a child and who wants good prenatal care, they want good childbirth services. the day the baby comes, and they want good postnatal care.
Stollings said the bill could deter doctors from wanting to work in West Virginia, so families will have even fewer options for care. “People don’t want to practice in a state where they’re constantly being questioned, looking over their shoulder, wondering if this is a serious enough emergency to go ahead and do the procedure. ” He went on to say “I think this is a scary time for OBGYN practice.
Stollings said more than 34% of gynecologists in West Virginia are over the age of 65, and he fears new doctors may no longer want to fill those positions as specialists retire.
Makes WV undesirable for youngsters
Sen. Bob Beech (D – District 13) said the ban “doesn’t encourage people to come to West Virginia,” especially young people. Funding for a major factory development in Ravenswood that would create tons of jobs was also passed during Tuesday’s special session, but Beech stressed that the move that was to be part of “ending notions of a backward state,” was overshadowed by HB 302. “It’s really about putting up barriers, and we still perpetuate this idea that we’re a backward state.”
The group of speakers as a whole felt that the new version of the bill was rushed and that the experts were not brought into the session before the new version was passed.
The full West Virginia Senate Democrats press conference can be viewed on YouTube at this link.