Our rapid descent into a fully fledged wingnut run state continues:
The West Virginia House of Delegates began moving a bill Thursday to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill is very similar to one that was passed last year, only to be vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The bill is one of 11 introduced so far this legislative session that seek to restrict women’s access to abortion.
A similar bill passed both houses of the Legislature last year with overwhelming bipartisan support but was vetoed by Tomblin, who said he had been advised that it was unconstitutional.
The House Health Committee held a public hearing on the bill before discussing it and ultimately passing it 20-5.
The public hearing had 25 speakers against the bill and 8 speaking in favor, although neither side seemed likely to change the other’s mind.
This year’s bill (HB2568) would ban abortions that occur more than 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. While that is a change in language from last year’s bill, it does not seem to be a change in practice, as the bill defines that time as “generally consistent with the time that is twenty weeks after fertilization.”
The bill contains some exceptions for medical emergencies or non-viable fetuses.
In medical emergencies the bill says, somewhat quizzically, that “an abortion …shall terminate the pregnancy in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive.”
An amendment from three Democratic delegates that would have added an exception for cases of rape or incest failed, largely along party lines.
The bill is named the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Some fun facts about West Virginia:
• In 2011, there were 4 abortion providers in West Virginia; 2 of those were clinics. This represents no change in overall providers and a no change in clinics from 2008, when there were 4 abortion providers overall, of which 2 were abortion clinics.
• In 2011, 89% of U.S. counties had no abortion clinic. 38% of American women lived in these counties, which meant they would have to travel outside their county to obtain an abortion. Of women obtaining abortions in 2008, one-third traveled more than 25 miles.
• In 2011, 98% of West Virginia counties had no abortion clinic. 90% of West Virginia women lived in these counties.
This is dated, and to my knowledge, there are only two places to have an abortion in WV now (.pdf), and both are in Kanawha county. Neither of them provides abortions after 20 weeks, and Women’s Health Services in WV only provides abortions up to 16 weeks.
So, in other words, this bill, if it is not vetoed by Tomblin, will accomplish nothing. It will not “save” one life. It’s just another way to gin up the culture wars and keep the godbotherers happy, and is a total waste of time, energy, and resources, because it will have ZERO impact on anything other than let some religious nuts babble on about the culture of life.
Speaking of the culture of life, it’s too bad those unborn fetuses don’t drink WV water, because then the fanatics in the legislature might stop doing shit like this:
As few as 90 of the thousands of chemical storage tanks across West Virginia might be covered by new state Department of Environmental Protection safety requirements passed after last year’s Freedom Industries leak, if legislation introduced this week passes, according to a new analysis of DEP data.
That’s 0.2 percent of the nearly 44,000 tanks listed in a database the DEP put together with owner registrations.
Downstream Strategies, a Morgantown-based environmental consultant, analyzed the data and released its findings in conjunction with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
“Senate Bill 373 passed with the promise that our water supplies would be protected,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the Rivers Coalition. “The fact that the Legislature is now introducing bills that exclude 99.8 percent of tanks is a betrayal of that promise. We cannot accept our lawmakers turning their back on public safety and ignoring what we learned last year about the vulnerability of our water.”
More on that bill:
Thousands of chemical storage tanks across West Virginia would be exempt from the law passed in the wake of the Freedom Industries spill, under legislation introduced Tuesday in the House of Delegates.
The bill (HB2574) would rewrite the definition of “above-ground storage tank” so that only tanks located within “zones of critical concern” near public drinking water intakes would be subject to new state safety standards and inspection requirements.
“The bill is an extreme gutting of the protections the Legislature passed unanimously last year,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “It makes us question if anything was learned at all from the water crisis, as this essentially returns us to where we were with underregulated above-ground storage tanks threatening our water.”
The bill, which was sent to the Judiciary Committee, has 11 co-sponsors. The lead sponsor is Delegate Bob Ashley, R-Roane. The four Democratic co-sponsors include House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison.
Industry lobbyists have been pushing for months for changes in last year’s landmark law, despite the fact that the state Department of Environmental Protection is still writing rules to implement that law. DEP officials are using a “risk-based approach” that mandates registration with DEP for all tanks, but reserves the strongest regulatory oversight for tanks whose size, location and contents makes them potential public health threats.
Among other things, the 40-page bill would exempt from the law any above-ground storage tanks with a capacity of 10,000 gallons or less. Current law is much broader, covering tanks with a capacity of 1,320 gallons.
“That’s a bit much,” DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said of the proposed change in the size of tanks covered by the law. “That takes a lot of tanks that do pose a risk to our public drinking water supplies out of the regulatory structure.”
Mind you, this legislation is in RESPONSE to the leak that poisoned the water of 300,000 West Virginians. A bill gutting existing laws and hampering future laws designed to protect drinking water.
That, folks, is what it looks like when Jesus and Big Business take the wheel.
Maybe the Left could make real gains in West Virginia if it actually talked about the bread and butter issues of the working class rather than having angels on the head of a pin debates about which gender pronouns to use and video games .
The Ancient Randonneur
Lay back and enjoy it Cole, the end product will be beautiful.
@!: Balloon Juice—come for the Cole rants, stay for the concern trolls!
Don’t forget the grammar police!
Save “no one’s life”?
How long before warnings are issued that when visiting the great state of WV, don’t drink the water. Montezuma’s revenge, has nothing on the Mountaineers.
As recent posts on this blog attest, West Virginia, Louisiana and Kansas are the disasters that result when the Republican wish list is granted in its entirety.
“You take the wheel, I’ll shoot ’em all.”
It was really only a matter of time. WV was the last holdout of the FDR Democrats, and, well, FDRs been gone for a long time now. Poverty + angry white people + churches = GOP.
@Fred Dickinson: The bread and butter issues of the working poor these days are sticking it to the black man living in the white man’s house, no matter how bad they get hurt in the process.
And this is because the working poor can still afford teevees and food. If that ever changes, then and only then will you see a change in priorities.
Dear Republican asshats, life does not stop when you are born. If you want to call yourself pro-life, you actually have to start giving a shit about the child once he’s outside of the womb and make sure he has a healthy environment free of toxic filth,a safe home to live in, parents who make enough money to provide for him without having to work 3 jobs, and a strong school system to teach him real facts and how to think for himself rather than to simply be another disposable cog in the machine of industry.
If you can’t do that, then simply say you don’t care about life as much as you care about controlling women.
May as well throw in the towel and petition to rejoin Virginia.
I get that Democrats can be willing accomplices to corporate greed. I kinda had hoped that would be balanced slightly by the wishes of the folk that actually elected them. Silly me.
How is it that these ‘Democrats’ in W. Virginia aren’t primaried?
No, none of this has anything to do with Jesus. These wolves in sheep’s clothing aren’t doing this for Him. They’re doing it for the perverted idol they have created. In their minds, it might look like Him. But the idol bears no real resemblance to the actual Jesus. Don’t take my word for it. Read the Bible and see for yourself.
Oh well. Too bad that voting for real Democratic representatives would involve possibly liking some horrible black people. If only WV could get over possibly having people in power who might sorta like the blacks, they might not have suffocating on their own mining filth to look forward to. Too bad.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
How often would they have to have some tank spring a leak and poison the water before they’d take this shit seriously? Once a year? Twice? Once a month? Once a week? I mean, yeah, I can understand the politicians doing this, since they want to get these companies to give them money; but the people who live there and drink water, what, they don’t care? They should be setting the capitol building in Charleston on fire over this.
West Virginians need to remember their not-so-distant history and take a little inspiration from Matewan.
Paul in KY
I live in Kentucky, so I can’t really say much…
The WV Republicans are also scrapping the state’s alternate energy program. Say coal. The only roadblock to all of this is Tomlin’s veto. We’ll see how much spine he has. I wonder how long it will take for the legislature to rescind the Medicaid expansion. The clock is being turned back.
Because there is nobody to their left remaining.
“That, folks, is what it looks like when Jesus and Big Business take the wheel.” No, this is what happens when no one fucking votes by hiding behind the “voting doesn’t matter” bully-bull. You don’t vote to keep these GOP madmen out of office–so what the hell do you think is going to happen when they get into power and start burning shit down in a way that would make Nero jealous?
@CONGRATULATIONS!: The only thing you left out of your equation was “subtract the great industrial unions (UMW, USW, and OCAW).”
Also, the complete indifference to the people who elect and trust them is amazing, but of course we love babies, so every woman is just an incubator. This is what happens whem people start voting based on tribal affiliation and resentment politics.
Anyone stop and consider that perhaps West Virginians enjoy the taste of benzene in their water?
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
Well, they’re not, and there is a range of things you could infer from that. A fair number of West Virginia voters are dependent for their economic survival (whether as employees, vendors, service providers, or employees of vendors and service providers) on the companies that own those unregulated tanks, and they have probably been told, in ways both subtle and unsubtle, that effective regulation will destroy the industrial base.
It is hardly irrational for those folks to think that they are better off having a job and buying bottled water than being on public assistance and having to drink the crap that comes out of the faucet.
Irish women flee to England to obtain abortions. Could we maybe hire a fleet of buses to help transport West Virginia women to neighboring states? Sort of an Overground Railroad?
@Sherparick: The dying of the unions being a key cause to the dying of the Democratic Party in WV is right on the money. The death of the Rust Belt killed pretty much all of the plants, and the shift from underground mining to mountaintop removal mining has killed UMW membership.
Well, at least WV only allows medical exemptions for vaccination. WV and Mississippi, in the forefront of science and common sense. Wait, what? So odd.
Villago Delenda Est
Please leave Jesus out of this. However, feel free to blame Jeebus, son of Mammon, the true god of American “Christian” fundie filth.
@muddy: It was the Christian Scientists who pushed for all kinds of “religious” exemptions in the state laws, and they never caught on in some places.
Strangely enough, it was the highly educated who were the biggest advocates of Christian Science. Even though there was nothing “science” about it, one needed a certain level of intellectualism to fall for it, I suppose.
A quick googling shows that West Virginia had basically been run by Democrats, sometimes with enormous supermajorities, from the New Deal until just recently. Wondering, was the state more like one of the coastal blue states until 2014? Among the national leaders in education, quality of life, technological innovation? Were all these mining and chemical companies incorporated in just the past few months? The huge decline in union membership all happening since 2014?
Maybe kill 2 birds with one stone.
Lets circulate a rumor that the toxic chemicals leaching into the groundwater are abortifacients equal to RU-486. And that poor women- no, lets make it poor unmarried black women- are drinking the water to induce abortions so they can go back to having consequence-free sex.
This may motivate the Legislature to clean up the water supply.
The working class doesn’t care. They can feel the floor of white-dominated America being pulled out from under them and want to burn it down before they have to share it with more of “them”
Something like 30%-40% of Democratic voters in West Virginia voted for McCain and Romney.
Tree With Water
That is really sad, what a shame.. West Virginia is such a beautiful state. I can recall Harpers Ferry during late spring/early summer in mind’s eye even now years later, and it remains some of the most beautiful land I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Time for a Fetal Access to Clean Drinking Water Act.
half glass fool
With the current atmosphere in WV it’s only a matter before they repeal that law.
The Republic of Stupidity
There’s a killer C&W song in there somewhere…
I can just feel it in my bones..