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Gov. Justice signs abortion bill into law

AM Stone | WVOW News

CHARLESTON The abortion bill generated by state lawmakers over the summer is now law.

Governor Jim Justice announced the signing of the bill to clarify the state’s regulation of abortion procedures during his COVID response conference Friday, September 16.

“It’s come to my desk,” Justice said. “I did exactly what I said what I would do. I signed it. It’s done. It’s absolutely done.”

The bill passed earlier in the week with overwhelming support from both houses of the legislature.

The West Virginia Legislature took up debate after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Roe vs. Wade federal guarantee of abortion. The court’s reversal throws decision making back to the states. The Mountain State is now one of fourteen states to restrict the procedure since the court's decision.

On Thursday, September 15, Indiana's law went into effect. On Wednesday, a county judge in Ohio blocked the Buckeye State's ban.

Lawmakers in W.Va. had been previously on adjournment awaiting call back the Capitol from the House Speaker and Senate President.

The bill passed after a day of debate with chants from abortion rights protesters so intense that House Speaker Roger Hanshaw directed the galleries cleared.

The bill passed The House 77-17 with six absences. Senators approved 22-7 with five absences .

The bill clarifies abortions in West Virginia are not permitted at any time during pregnancy, except limited situations.

The bill allows an abortion for a nonmedically viable fetus or a medical emergency. Moreover, psychological or mental health instances are not included with medical emergency.

The bill specifies language for what is not considered an abortion including: miscarriage, stillbirth, in vitro fertilization or contraception.

Medical providers can be stripped of their licenses for operating outside of the law. People not licensed can still face criminally prosecuted if they attempt the procedure.

The law does allow abortions for rape and incest victims up to eight weeks for adults and fourteen weeks. Adults must file a police report to qualify for the exception. Minors must file a report with law enforcement or be treated by a doctor besides the one performing the abortion.

The law went into effect immediately with the Governor’s signature.


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