A 12-year-old girl gave emotional testimony Wednesday in the West Virginia legislature, opposing a new abortion ban that would ban the procedure in all but extreme cases.
“I play college volleyball and run on the track. My education is very important to me, and I plan to do great things in life,” Addison Gardner of Buffalo Middle School told legislators during a private session. “If a man decides I am a being, and does unspeakable tragic things for me Lee, am I supposed to carry the birth of another baby?”
“Do I put my body in physical trauma from pregnancy? Do I suffer from the mental repercussions, a child who has no say in what is happening with my body?” she added. “Some here say they are pro-life. What about my life, don’t you care about my life?”
Lawmakers are currently considering House Bill 302, which would ban nearly all abortions, except for pregnancies in medical emergencies, ectopic pregnancies, or fetuses deemed medically unviable.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn it Raw vs. WadeGovernor Jim Justice, a Republican, called on lawmakers to update and clarify abortion restrictions.
“From the moment the Supreme Court announced its decision in Dobbs, I have said that I will not hesitate to call a special session as soon as I hear from our legislative leaders that they have done their due diligence and are ready to act,” Mr. Justice said in a statement on Monday. “As I have said many times, I am very proud of life and believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting.”
At Wednesday’s hearing, several activists, doctors and concerned citizens opposed the bill, with some taking to cheering as they passed their allotted speaking time. Lawmakers voted to amend the law to add exceptions for victims of rape and incest.
House lawmakers eventually approved the bill on Wednesday, sending it to the Senate for consideration.
Support for the bill ignored chants of “we are confronted” from onlookers and outside the legislature.
“What is ringing in my ears is not the noise of the people here,” Republican Brandon Steele, a supporter of HB 302, said. For the Associated Press. “It is the cries of the fetuses, the tens of thousands of unborn children who died today. … Their blood is crying out from the earth today to end this scar on our state, and to remove this curse from this land which the court imposed on us long ago.”
Abortion restrictions in the state, where the procedure is currently allowed up to 20 to 22 weeks, were temporarily suspended by a state court decision last week.
Kanawa County Circuit Court Judge Tara Salango issued a temporary injunction against a 19th-century West Virginia law that made all abortion offenses a felony, finding that the laws and subsequent ruling vexed the legality of that ruling.
The decision allowed the West Virginia Women’s Health Center, the state’s only abortion clinic, to continue operating temporarily.
“Plaintiffs and their patients, especially those impregnated as a result of rape or incest, already suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction,” Judge Salango said on Monday. “The defendants will not suffer any harm from this injunction that they have not in half a century of not carrying out this crime. It is unfair to allow West Virginia to keep conflicting laws on its books.”
“It simply doesn’t matter if you’re pro-choice or pro-life,” she added. “Every citizen of this state has the right to know clearly the laws under which he is expected to live.”
State officials appealed the ruling, submitting it to the West Virginia Court of Appeals.
Many countries controlled by republicans They sought new restrictions on abortion Or a blanket ban since then Ro It was dropped in June.
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