CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A bill to prohibit abortions later than 20 weeks after conception passed the West Virginia House late Saturday and will be sent to the governor to sign into law.
The bill passed 85-15 with two delegates not voting. Speaker Tim Miley denied requests to speak on the bill, stating lawmakers had too many bills to get through before a midnight deadline.
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said he’s concerned that a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks could be unconstitutional.
“Even the legislative attorneys and others have said that they feel that the bill is unconstitutional,” he said Saturday.
Earlier this week, Council to the Judiciary Committee said the Supreme Court has ruled similar 20-week regulations unconstitutional. Typically abortion limitations center around fetal viability, which is typically considered at 24 weeks
Despite several attempt to move the ban to 24 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual cycle, the bill now states fetal termination after 20 weeks may only be allowed if a mother is at risk of serious physical impairment or death, or if the fetus is not medically viable.
Doctors must also report all abortions to the state Department of Health and Human Recourses, and violators of the law could be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined up to $4,000.
The bill orders the Health Department to issue an annual report of abortion statistics starting by June 30, 2016.
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