The overwhelming majority of the four dozen speakers opposed the bill. The bill’s lead sponsor, Fayette County Republican Delegate Kayla Kessinger, attended the hearing along with House Speaker Tim Armstead and several other delegates.

The bill would ban Medicaid-funded abortions unless the procedure is needed to save a mother’s life. The bill is part of a national movement by Republican-led Legislatures considering an array of abortion legislation.

Kessinger said after the hearing that to “force West Virginians to pay for a procedure that they are morally and conscientiously opposed to is a violation of their rights of conscience.”

Bill opponent Amanda Schwartz of Winfield said the legislation is not about morality or protecting taxpayer money.

“This bill’s sole purpose is to score political points with religious conservatives in West Virginia by passing a measure that devalues poor women’s health care,” Schwartz said. “It is wrong and unworthy of West Virginians to use poor women as political pawns for individual gains.”