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Close vote defeats state budget abortion ban

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's House of Delegates has narrowly rejected a proposal to restrict funding for abortion in the new state budget.

Thursday's 45-52 vote closely followed party lines. The proposed amendment sought to bar Medicaid funds for abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy or when medical science determines the fetus can feel pain.

That proposed standard has become a topic of debate in several other states. Delegates on Thursday questioned whether the amendment would violate a 1993 West Virginia Supreme Court opinion that ruled a Medicaid abortion ban unconstitutional. All Republicans present voted for the amendment along with Delegate Ryan Ferns, an Ohio County Democrat. A largely party-line vote defeated a separate GOP amendment targeting funding for the insurance exchange arising from the federal health care overhaul.


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