15 February 2010

Legislature 2010: Abortion

With the state's most prominent anti-abortion group set to rally at the Legislature this week, "the five-year legislative losing streak for abortion foes in West Virginia could end with a bill aimed at making ultrasound images of fetuses more readily available to women," The Associated Press reports.

AP's Tom Breen assesses the prospects for the as-yet-unintroduced measure. noting that the lead sponsor of the Senate version is that chamber's Judiciary chairman, Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall.

In the House, meanwhile, the political equation has "changed with the elevation in December of Delegate Tim Miley, D-Harrison, to head" its judiciary committee, the article said. "Miley is an abortion opponent, and anti-abortion groups welcomed his presence as chairman."

The proposal appears timed around Thursday's statehouse show-of-force from West Virginians for Life, with Gov. Joe Manchin among the officials expected to address the crowd.

"Ultrasound requirements are not a novel idea in the abortion debate; eight states currently have some form of them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures," Breen writes, also reporting that "abortion rights supporters counter that the current law already ensures that women seeking abortions get enough information."

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