BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– West Virginia is building its economy, and many West Virginians identify as pro-life.

Lawmakers must strike a balance between pleasing citizens and attracting businesses and new residents to the state.

Local chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations in West Virginia have faced a number of challenges, from a low workforce participation rate to a low number of residents with college degrees. The state is still in recovery from the opioid epidemic and has a high number of children n foster care.

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe could create a new challenge for state lawmakers, as it relates to business growth in the state.

In response to the ruling, a number of employers who operate in the state have started to offer travel reimbursement insurance to their employees and family members who are forced to leave the state to get abortion care.

In Texas, where there’s a ban on abortion, lawmakers have threatened to close the jobs of workers who are offered the insurance. 

Some legal experts report that corporations could even face criminal charges in certain states for offering a path to legal abortion for workers.

But one conservative state lawmaker says that is unlikely to happen in West Virginia.

“I’ve heard no discussions, I haven’t read anything that the state has interest in moving in that direction,” said Sen. Rollan Roberts of District 9. “When people are interested in moving to the state of West Virginia, they look at the tax base, the look at the living conditions, they look at education.”

Roberts, a Republican, added that the pro-life and pro-choice debate will be an additional factor and that businesses and individuals must move to the state, based on their own values.

Roberts noted that any law passed by the legislator is unlikely to please everyone and that it will result in legal challenges.

Gov. Jim Justice’s Ascend program awards incentives to out-of-state people who move to West Virginia to work remotely.

Greenbrier County Sen. Stephen Baldwin says a strict abortion ban will likely not appeal to college-educated women.

“I can tell you that I have heard from a significant number of college-educated females and females who are pursuing higher education who are extremely upset about this decision and who are making decisions about their future and questioning where they want to be and who they want to work with,” said Baldwin on Tuesday. “So I imagine it will have a significant impact, and not the impact we want, of people staying here in West Virginia.”

According to Baldwin, he has heard no firm date from state lawmakers about when or if a special legislative session will be called to develop laws for abortion in West Virginia.

Baldwin, a Democrat, said he has heard citizens’ fears that law enforcement could detain pregnant people who try to leave the state for abortion care.

He noted that “in these times,” he understands their fears but said it is likely illegal and a violation of Constitutional rights.

The state’s only abortion clinic is not performing abortions since the Supreme Court of the United States decision was released Friday.

Without clear direction from lawmakers, the state is under an 1882 law that criminalizes abortion for the patient who seeks one and the health care professional who performs the abortion. Adults may not legally choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy as part of post-rape care,  for themselves or their children, or to save their own lives or those of a child, under the law.

Doctors in West Virginia face up to 10 years in prison for an abortion, which is considered a felony under the 1882 law.

If the patient dies as part of the procedure, doctors may be charged with murder under the code.