A 12-year-old gave passionate testimony to the West Virginia legislature on Wednesday, opposing a new abortion ban that would ban the procedure in all but the most extreme cases.
“I play for varsity volleyball and I run track. My education is very important to me and I intend to do great things in life,” Addison Gardner of Buffalo Middle School told lawmakers during a special session. “If a man decides that I am an object and does unspeakable, tragic things to me, should I still bear and bear a child as a child?”
“Do I have to let my body go through the physical trauma of pregnancy? Do I have to carry the mental implications, a child who had nothing to say about what was done to my body? she added. “Some here say they are pro -life. What about my life? Doesn’t my life matter to you?”
Legislators are currently considering House Bill 302, which would ban almost all abortions except for medical emergency pregnancies, ectopic pregnancies, or fetuses deemed medically unviable.
In the wake of the Supreme Court strike Roe v Wadeand a West Virginia court ruling temporarily suspending 19th-century abortion laws, Republican Governor Jim Justice called on lawmakers to modernize and clarify abortion restrictions.
“From the moment the Supreme Court announced their decision in Dobbs, I said I would not hesitate to convene a special hearing as soon as I heard from our legislative leaders that they had done their due diligence and were ready to act.” Mr Justice said in a statement. a pronunciation on Monday. “As I have often said, I am very proud of life and I believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, numerous activists, medical professionals and concerned citizens opposed the bill, with some being escorted to cheer as they went through their allotted speaking time. Lawmakers voted to amend the bill to add exceptions for rape and incest victims.
House lawmakers finally passed the bill on Wednesday and sent it to the state Senate for consideration.
Supporters of the bill ignored chants of “face us” coming from onlookers and those outside the legislative chamber.
“What sounds to my ears is not the noise of the people here,” Republican Brandon Steele, a supporter of HB 302, told the Associated Press. “It is the cries of the unborn, tens of thousands of unborn children who are dead today. … Their blood screams from the ground today that you end this scar on our state, that you remove this curse from this land that was imposed on us by a court so long ago.”
Abortion restrictions in the state, where proceedings are currently allowed for up to 20 to 22 weeks, were temporarily suspended last week by a state court ruling.
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tara Salango issued a temporary injunction against the West Virginia circa 1800 law that made all abortion felonies, finding that subsequent laws and rulings clouded the legality of the provision.
The decision allowed West Virginia’s Woman’s Health Center, the state’s only abortion clinic, to continue operating temporarily.
“The plaintiffs and their patients, especially those who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, are already suffering irreparable harm in the absence of a court order,” Judge Salango said Monday. “Defendants will not be harmed by this injunction which has not been suffered through the half century of non-execution of this crime. It is unjust to allow the state of West Virginia to enforce conflicting laws on its books.”
“It just doesn’t matter if you’re pro-choice or pro-life,” she added. “Every citizen in this state has the right to know clearly the laws under which they are supposed to live.”
State officials challenged the ruling, taking it before a West Virginia appeals court.
Numerous Republican-controlled states have tried to impose new abortion restrictions or total bans since roe was felled in June.