CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks passed its first state Senate committee Tuesday on a voice vote.

The Senate Health Committee made a few changes to the fetal pain bill including reducing criminal charges against doctors who perform abortions after 20 weeks from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill passed by the House of Delegates included the felony provision.

“I’m concerned about the emergency room doctor, an obstetrician is called down to consult on a case, a woman with belly pain or something like that, and that their clinical decision would be based on medicine and not on fear of being a felon,” Health Committee Chair Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said.

Sen. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, also questioned the felony provision.

“I don’t ever understand why it was first proposed as a felony. That’s the first question I have,” Plymale said.

Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, attempted to amend the bill to move the 20-week deadline to 24-weeks.

“This would bring us in line with the vast majority of the states who have adopted legislation like this and to essentially ensure the constitutionality of this bill and that the courts would uphold it,” Palumbo said.

The committee defeated the proposed amendment on a voice vote.

Even though the bill passed, Sen. Stollings said there are some questions about whether it’s legal to ban abortions at 20 weeks.

“You don’t want to pass a bill that you pretty much know that’s already been determined unconstitutional and we’ve tried to get folks on the Right to Life side to budge but they are entrenched,” Stollings said.

The bill next goes to Senate Judiciary Committee which is chaired by Sen. Palumbo.


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  • Don Smith

    Th legislators should do all they can do to save the lives of the children. The sad truth is that even those who hate the murder of the little babies know they face an ungodly legal system that has no care for the sanctity of life. Hope they can save some from the pain which abortion produces. Seems like those who want to discard the unborn should at least desire to lessen their misery.

  • rick

    All you Faux News folks who hate Obamacare now want to put a Government agency in charge of deciding what is a medical emergency to permit an about your Death Panels ...that would certainly be one.

  • 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.

  • Debra

    It's still as unconstitutional today as it was last month when appeals courts struck it down.

  • TB

    Medman - it is about inflicting pain on an unborn child - not a trivial matter such as your quoted "economic issues facing the State." Have you noticed that none of the politicians that voted against the bill are discussing the merits of performing abortions past 20 weeks? Ms. Marshall? Ms. Fleischauer?


    felony charges sound good for this bill . . . an exception can be made , if warranted, for emergency room decisions that affect the life of the expectant mother . . . sounds like a win-win if written properly . . .

  • Medman

    Ron Stallings is a man I trust and he is saying that this bill will not pass Constitional muster per other appeals and court rulings, but the right to life folks will not compromise and want to pass a bill anyway. Does this make any sense to anyone? Just kill the bill and deal with the real economic issues facing our state.

  • Tony

    I think it would be a great service to your readers if you would post the Bill numbers in every story talking about a Bill. It's a disservice not to include this information. Thank you.