West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Signs Bill Into Law Banning Abortion

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Before the 6-3 Dobbs decision, where the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the question of abortion back to the states, the state of Texas was leading the way with its heartbeat law to severely limit abortions within the state.

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Once SCOTUS laid down the decision, Missouri became the first state to pass a law that bans most, if not all, abortions. South Dakota quickly followed Missouri’s lead, then Arkansas was next out the gate. They joined 10 additional states that already had trigger laws on the books that outlawed abortion: Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana.

West Virginia is now the 14th state to ban abortion.

The death merchants are rending their garments—if only it were their hearts.

From the Associated Press:

Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday signed into law a ban on abortions at all stages of pregnancy, making West Virginia the second state to enact a law prohibiting the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning its constitutional protection.

The bill will go into effect immediately, except for the criminal penalties, which will go into effect in 90 days, he said.

In July, a West Virginia circuit court judge granted a preliminary injunction against the 150-year-old abortion ban, which was essentially West Virginia’s own trigger law. Instead of waiting for appeals to wend through the judicial system, Justice challenged lawmakers to craft a law that would align with the Dobbs decision and hold up under legal scrutiny, as Life News reported.

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“From the moment the Supreme Court announced their decision in Dobbs, I said that I would not hesitate to call a Special Session once I heard from our Legislative leaders that they had done their due diligence and were ready to act,” Justice said in a statement previously. “As I have said many times, I very proudly stand for life and I believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting.”

Justice said he wanted the legislature to produce a pro-life bill to “ensure a coherent, comprehensive framework governing abortions and attendant family services and support to expecting mothers to provide the citizens of this State more certainty in the application of such laws.”

The legislature did just that as the House Bill 302 passed by a vote of 22-7 in the Senate and the state House approved the ban by a 78-17 vote.

As with most abortion bans, this law incorporates exemptions for medical emergencies and for rape and incest victims; adults up to eight weeks of pregnancy, and up to 14 weeks for minors below the age of 18. The law requires assault victims to report the crime to law enforcement 48 hours before an abortion procedure. A minor or the mandatory reporter can report directly to the police, or to a doctor who must then involve law enforcement.

The law also attempts to circumvent unsupervised chemical abortions. A physician at a hospital must perform all abortions. Providers who perform illegal abortions can face up to 10 years in prison.

The Women’s Health Center, the abortion facility which challenged the law, was advised by its legal counsel to shutter its doors.

Women’s Health Center of West Virginia Executive Director Katie Quiñonez said the clinic’s lawyer advised them to suspend abortions immediately. Dozens of West Virginia women have already had to rebook canceled appointments at out-of-state clinics in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia, she said.

The ACLU of West Virginia released this statement on Twitter:

“This law is anything but pro-life. It places lifesaving healthcare out of reach for tens of thousands.

“Our work continues.”

And so must the fight for Life also continue. Pro-Life organizations must continue to step in with education and resources for women facing an unexpected pregnancy, and all who stand for Life must lend support and aid to ensure these organizations remain safe and thrive.

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