Hearing held on Medicaid abortion bill in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Some critics of an abortion bill in West Virginia are urging lawmakers to instead focus on eliminating the state’s poverty and prescription drug problems.

A public hearing on the bill was held Monday in the House of Delegates chambers at the state Capitol in Charleston. The bill would eliminate Medicaid funding for medically necessary abortions unless the procedure is needed to save a mother’s life.

Most of the dozens of speakers opposed the bill. Several critics said the bill discriminates against poor women.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that opposes abortion restrictions, West Virginia is among 17 states whose policies direct Medicaid payments for all or most medically necessary abortions.

State data shows 1,560 Medicaid-funded abortions were done in West Virginia last year, more than triple the number from 2013.

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