CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 2) promises movement in the Senate in the closing week of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session on the proposed Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

“I have no problem with it passing in the right form,” said Kessler of HB 4588 which would ban abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks into a pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies.

Members of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee will first take up the bill this week, followed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Supporters have argued fetuses or unborn children can feel pain at 20 weeks in development and the state has a duty, under the law, to offer them protection.  Opponents, though, have said the bill is unconstitutional.

“It’s not my intention to do anything other than to get the bill in good shape so that we give it a thorough and good review so that we can protect the lives of the unborn surely,” said Kessler.

“But, in addition to that, we need to also make sure that we give due consideration to the terrible and horrible decisions that a woman has to make in those difficult times.”

In the House bill, performing late-term abortions that do not fall under the prescribed medical exceptions would be felonies, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and one to five year prison sentences.  The doctor would be punished.  There are no penalties for the woman involved.

Kessler said that punitive part of the bill would get a close look from Senators.

“These situations are not as clear cut as they may seem to be, so we’re going to give to give it a good, thorough review and it’s my instructions to my folks to work the bill,” said Kessler.

Members of the House of Delegates approved the bill with a 79-17 vote last week.  The 2014 Regular Session closes on Saturday night.

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  • rick

    Yes...I support the death penalty for crimes that are so heinous that no other penalty will do. WV stopped doing executions only on a cost basis not a moral issue. It simply costs so much to keep the death penalty. My comment was only that tough decisions like abortions are not fivilous and should only involve the doctor and patient. The Govt does not have a role in decisions like that.

  • wv4evah

    Wow. I clicked-onto the comments section, fully expecting to see the antediluvian attitudes that are so common here..but was pleasantly surprised to see the sensible postings from Debra and Rick.

    Putting this legislation on the front-burner is a waste of time and money. Taxpayers should expect more from their legislators than meaningless political posturing.

    • Paladin

      antediluvian? Isn't the literal meaning of that a Biblical Term meaning "before the Great Flood of Noah"?--- Are you trying to suggest maybe the New Testament may support abortion?

      WVevah, Rick, Debra, just curious-- Do you guys support death penalty for rapist, murders and child molesters? I'll check back for your answers which I expect not to find... Prove me wrong.

      • Debra

        I actually don't support the death penalty at all.

      • Paladin

        Oh, I forgot to mention,, I'm strictly pro-choice...

  • Debra

    And if past, this will move on to the courts where it will be struck down just like all cases before it have been. Women should not be forced to carry a severely deformed or lethal fetus. Most of the late term abortions are due to medical complications of the mother or severely abnormal fetuses.

  • rick

    No one likes abortion especially late term abortions but sometimes they are necessary. In 2010 there were only 7 procedures done after the 20 week mark. There are only four clinics in WV that do abortions. I don't think any doctors are doing these procedures that late unless there were severe complications. This is an unnecessay law that only punishes doctors. For all you limited Govt people this is another unnecessary law.