State Passes Law Banning Most Abortions

( )- Last Tuesday, West Virginia lawmakers passed legislation banning abortion with limited exemptions which was quickly signed into law by the state’s Republican governor.

The legislation bans all abortions except in the cases of a nonviable fetus, ectopic pregnancy, medical emergency, or in cases of rape and incest.

The legislation was passed with overwhelming support in both the Senate (22 to 7) and the House (77 to 17). The bill was signed into law on Friday by Republican Governor Jim Justice.

The law, which replaces West Virginia’s current 20-week abortion law, also includes criminal penalties for anyone performing an abortion without a medical license or at an unapproved location.

In a statement after signing the law, Governor Justice said he had “said from the beginning” that if the West Virginia legislature sent him a bill that protected life “and included reasonable and logical exemptions,” he would sign it into law.

West Virginia now becomes the second state to pass a near or total ban on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Several states have “trigger” laws on the books that would outlaw abortion if and when Roe was overturned. However, there are legal battles currently underway seeking to prevent those “trigger” laws from being “triggered.”

The West Virginia exception on rape and incest permits adult women to obtain an abortion within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Minors who are victims of rape or incest have 14 weeks in which to obtain an abortion.

The abortions permitted in West Virginia must be performed in a hospital rather than an abortion clinic.

Currently, West Virginia only has one abortion facility, the Women’s Health Clinic. The Associated Press reported last week that two Republican lawmakers included the stipulation that abortions be performed in hospitals expressly to force the Women’s Health Clinic to close.

The West Virginia law goes into effect immediately. However, the criminal penalties for those illegally performing abortions do not go into effect for 90 days.