CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A bill to outlaw abortions on fetuses of 20 or more weeks' gestation quickly advanced from the House of Delegates' Health and Human Resources Committee Monday.
The legislation (HB4588), which would make it a felony to perform abortions after 20 weeks, passed the committee on a voice vote. There was no discussion and no amendments offered.
Committee Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said afterward he decided it would be best to move the bill forward, rather than risk losing other bills that are pending before the committee by having a drawn-out committee debate on the abortion bill.
"We decided not to have three hours of debate at a juncture where we've got so many things to do," Perdue said.
The House has nine days remaining this session to act on bills originating in the House, with Feb. 26 being "crossover day," the last day for the House to advance its own bills to the Senate.
The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee, where Perdue said he would recommend committee members also move it forward for the same reason, so that the House will have a single extended debate on the issue, on the House floor.
Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, loudly voted no on the bill Monday, and said afterward she intends to speak against the bill.
"The point is, people wanted to be on the record on how they feel on this issue," she said.