West Virginia bill could send abortion providers to prison for 10 years
The House passed legislation that would set a prison sentence between three and 10 years for anyone who tries to perform an illegal abortion, but exempts the mother
August 1, 2022 4:31pm
Updated: August 2, 2022 2:40pm
Legislation that would ban abortion in most cases in West Virginia is heading to a joint conference committee to settle a dispute between House and Senate lawmakers about whether abortion providers should be subject to criminal penalties for illegal abortions.
Both chambers approved legislation that would ban abortion in most cases with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. However, a dispute over the penalties for violating the law have caused a rupture among Republican legislative leaders in the state.
The House passed legislation that would have reestablished West Virginia’s old abortion law, which sets a prison sentence between three and 10 years for anyone who tries to perform an illegal abortion, but exempts the mother who procures the abortion from criminal prosecution.
Under the House version, performing an illegal abortion could also jeopardize a doctor’s license. The Senate amended the proposal to scale back the penalties. Under the Senate’s proposed bill, the doctor’s license would still be jeopardized, but he could not be subjected to any criminal prosecution.
The House rejected the Senate amendment and both sides are entering into a joint conference committee to reach an agreement on the legislation.