Published On: Fri, Sep 16th, 2022

West Virginia’s Gov. Jim Justice Signed a Bill Banning Abortion into Law

West Virginia Abortion Law

On Friday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice made the announcement that he had signed a bill into law that forbids almost all abortions, with the exception of specific medical circumstances, as well as those involving rape or incest.

On Tuesday, during a special session of the legislature, House Bill 302 was approved, making West Virginia the second state in the country after the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade to adopt a restrictive abortion bill.

The prohibition is put into action as soon as the measure is signed, but the criminal penalties won’t take effect for another three months.

In circumstances of rape or incest committed by adults during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, or by minors during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, HB 302 makes allowances for exceptions. At the very least, the incident must be reported to law enforcement at least forty-eight hours before the abortion.

Additionally, it allows for exemptions in the case that the embryo or fetus is not viable, there is a medical emergency, or the woman is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are extremely uncommon and occur when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus.
At a news conference held on Friday morning, Justice, a Republican, stated, “I’ve done precisely what I said I would do — I’ve signed it.” Justice made these remarks in reference to the bill.

The Supreme Court Justice has stated that he is “glad that I signed it and I feel honest that it does one thing that is absolutely very crucial — it does protect life.”

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The progress of HB 302 had been halted in July because lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on significant aspects of the bill.

Advocates for abortion rights criticized legislators this week when they returned to the legislature for voting to outlaw abortion “after weeks of deliberations behind closed doors.”

After announcing in July that she had made the decision to overturn a state abortion restriction that dated back to the 1800s, a state court judge in West Virginia made it possible to terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks along beginning in July.

In that same month, Justice brought lawmakers back for an extraordinary session and at the very last minute placed abortion to the docket for consideration.

On Friday, Justice added, “I said over and over and over that I stand strongly for life,” and she did so multiple times. “But I also argued that we need to have exceptions that are acceptable, reasonable, and logical,” she continued.

“And I do believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that there are exceptions that are sensible and logical that they have brought us. Now considering all of that, this is such a volatile and unstable bill. On both sides, there are folks who are moving forward who are likely not going to obtain everything and anything it was that they desired” he stated.

A person who is not a licensed medical professional and who conducts an abortion in violation of the law is susceptible to a felony charge and might face up to ten years in jail for their actions.

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Miscarriages, stillbirths, in vitro fertilization, and other medical treatments that result in the accidental or unintentional death of pregnancy are not deemed abortions by the law. Neither are miscarriages.

Both the selling of contraceptives and their use are not prohibited by the law. Providers of abortion services are obligated to report abortions and must contact the parents of a minor before carrying out the procedure.

A medical emergency is defined as “a condition or circumstance that so complicates a patient’s medical condition as to necessitate an abortion to avert serious risk of the patient’s death or serious risk of substantial life-threatening physical impairment of a major bodily function,” excluding mental health emergencies.

If a patient’s medical condition deteriorates to the point where she faces a significant risk of death or considerable life-threatening physical impairment of any kind without an abortion, then the law allows doctors to perform the procedure.

Director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Alisa Clements made the argument that the law “would be devastating for the citizens of our state.”