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Justice Addresses Last Minute Addition Of Abortion To Special Session

Governor Jim Justice speaks at his virtual press briefing, June 26, 2020
Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice took time during his COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday to discuss the last-minute inclusion of abortion in this week’s special session.

Justice clarified that his plan was always to address abortion once the legislature was prepared to take up the issue. He said Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, indicated Friday his chamber was ready, with Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, following suit Sunday.

Justice said any implication that he made the decision as a ploy to further his personal income tax agenda was insulting.

“We have been 50 years in making this change,” he said. “There's no question the tax cut is important. But really and truly, it does not hold a teacup to what we're going to do in this state in regard to the elimination of abortion and what our Supreme Court of the United States did.”

Justice reiterated that West Virginia’s abortion law, dating from the 19th century, was ancient and needed modernization.

Later in the press conference, Justice stated including abortion in this special session had the added benefit of not requiring legislators to make another trip to Charleston.

“The House says they're ready on Friday, the Senate said they're ready, I think sometime on Sunday evening,” Justice said. “And so they're here. Why not do it?”

North Central/Morgantown Reporter, cschulz@wvpublic.org, 304-284-1497, @SchulzReports

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