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A stark gender divide has emerged in debates unfolding in Republican-led states including West Virginia, Indiana and South Carolina following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to end constitutional protections for abortion. As male-dominated legislatures worked to advance bans, protesters were more likely to be women. That happened even as legislators often had support of the few Republican women holding office. In all three states, lawmakers fighting against abortion bans have pointed to the gender divide. They've insisted that male counterparts shouldn’t get to dictate medical decisions for women. Ban supporters maintain that abortion affects not only women, but also children, and all of society.

West Virginia lawmakers were scheduled to convene at the state Capitol outside of their regular session to discuss putting millions of dollars of surplus money into road maintenance. They also are scheduled to take up a proposal to create a new industrial plant program within the state economic development office. It was unclear whether they would again take up the issue of abortion, more than a month after the Republican supermajority failed to reach consensus on a sweeping bill that would have barred access to the procedure in most circumstances.  Republican Gov. Jim Justice put out a call on Saturday for a special session beginning at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Sen. Joe Manchin made a deal with Democratic leaders as part of his vote pushing the party's highest legislative priority across the finish line last month. Now, he's ready to collect. But many environmental advocacy groups and lawmakers are balking. They are asking party leaders to keep legislation to expedite environmental reviews for energy projects out of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running at the end of September. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will combine the two efforts anyway. The divide could test the ability of party leaders to keep enough Democrats in line to avoid a partial government shutdown before the midterms.

The State Journal's Daily Journal

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