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W.Va. Democrats propose bill to repeal abortion restrictions

January 31st, 2022 by WCBC Radio

Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill to repeal all abortion restrictions in West Virginia, a move that comes amid efforts in the Republican-led legislature to further restrict access to the procedure.

During a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday, the bill's co-sponsor Del. Danielle Walker, a mother who previously had an abortion, described abortion restrictions as “a barrier to safe, affordable, accessible health care.”

“It is racist. Sit in that uncomfortable moment," said Walker, the only Black woman in the West Virginia Legislature. Walker, who represents Monongalia County, added, "It affects people of color tremendously. It affects our neighbors in rural communities. It affects low-income wage-earning West Virginians, and it upsets me to my core."

House Bill 4382 would repeal the mandatory 24-hour waiting period and counseling for abortion patients; West Virginia’s 20-week abortion ban; restrictions on dilation and evacuation — the most commonly used abortion method in the second trimester of abortion; the “born-alive” bill, which penalizes physicians who don’t provide medical care to a baby born after an abortion attempt; the state's telehealth ban on medication abortion and criminal penalties for abortion.

Katie Quinonez, executive director of Women’s Health Center of West Virginia — the state's sole facility providing abortions — said the state's current policies are “harmful and discriminatory" and it's time for them to go