BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia lawmakers started the legislative session off strong proposing over 172 bills in the House of Delegates alone. One of those bills is House Bill 4004 which would institute a ban on abortion after fifteen weeks except in medical emergency or cases of severe fetal abnormality.
Delegate Jordan Maynor represents parts of Raleigh, Summers and Monroe Counties and is one of the bill’s sponsors.
“I am unapologetically pro-life,” Maynor said. “I do believe life begins at conception and I know there have been efforts around the country to try and have smart regulations around abortion and put some limits on this and what we did was our language essentially copied the Mississippi state law from 2018.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Mississippi’s law in December and a ruling is expected in the spring. West Virginia’s bill is currently in the Health and Human Resources Committee where Maynor said some amendments will be offered. He said it is too early to tell if there will be challenges in court if the bill is passed into law, but he believes a cultural shift will work in the bill’s favor.
“I think there has even been a shift in the mood of the country over the last decade and certainly since Roe v. Wade was implemented by the Supreme Court and at the end of the day,” Maynor said. “It is never the wrong time to do the right thing. We believe in this bill, we believe in life, and we believe in putting smart regulation on abortion in the state of West Virginia.”
The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia in Charleston is the only abortion clinic in the state. Executive Director Katie Quinonez said restricting access to abortions will disproportionately impact low-income people and minorities.
“They fall hardest on people of color, people who are working to make ends meet struggling financially, young people, rural people,” Quinonez said. “That includes a very large population of West Virginians.”
The bill does not include penalties against patients who receive or attempt to receive abortions but does include penalties for medical providers who perform or attempt abortions, including the possibility of losing a license to practice.