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Abortion-Restricting Bill Rejected With Tie Vote

Daniel Walker

A vote resulting in a tie is a rarity in the legislature but one occurred Tuesday in the House of Delegates.

There were no bills up for passage but, with it being “Pro-Life Day” at the Capitol, there was an attempt made to discharge House Bill 2364 from committee to be put to a vote on the floor.

 The bill also known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” would restrict abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks, create criminal penalties for such procedures and create a Special Revenue Fund known as the “West Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Litigation Fund.”

Delegate Tim Armstead says the bill’s purpose is to make West Virginia’s laws on abortion similar to other states around the country.

"We just wanted to actually put our state in line with the majority of other states in the country in terms of at least determining when that point is," Armstead said.

“After that [20 week] point, medical experts have said that a child can feel pain and we believe that, while several of us believe that abortion should not be legal in our country, there should be restrictions that after a child can feel pain that there should not be abortions except in the situation where the life of the mother is in danger.”

The motion to pull the bill from its double committee reference and bring it straight to the floor was rejected after the vote came to a 48-48 tie.

This means that the bill will continue through the normal committee process, designated to go through Health and Human Resources and then Judiciary.

However, some delegates feel that the vote killed the bill because it has been over a month since its introduction and it has yet to go through its first committee.