West Virginia Lawmakers Pass New Abortion Ban With Little to No Exceptions

West+Virginia+Lawmakers+Pass+New+Abortion+Ban+With+Little+to+No+Exceptions

Tamira Singleton, Staff Reporter

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the previous federal law, Roe v. Wade after 50 years. After this overturn, lawmakers across the nation had to determine and make laws surrounding abortion.

At the beginning of the overturn, up to fourteen states were under “trigger law” (a scenario case referring to a law that can be enforceable if something or an event were to change). In this case, the law would create certain restrictions on abortion. Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming were under official “trigger” law decision. These states had other factors impacting the decision on abortion procedures such as private or individual healthcare providers, data privacy, and employer rights. Currently, there are twelve states that have banned or imposed heavy restrictions on abortions. Our own state just made such an important decision on this topic.

Almost after three months under trigger law restrictions, West Virginia has made a conclusion on its stance on abortions. It did, however, meet some setbacks such as having to re-reach a consensus after not being able to pass the bill earlier in the house.

The bill, (HB-302) was passed on Tuesday, the 13th, allowing a ban on abortion with very few exceptions. Under the new legislation, victims of rape or incest can obtain an abortion for up to 8-weeks, only if a report is made to law enforcement. These same requirements are applied to minors for up to 14 weeks. The procedure can be completed with a copy of a police report 48 hours after receiving an abortion.

West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice has received the bill to be signed. With his history of supporting anti-abortion bills, lawmakers are positive this bill will be passed within new legislation in no time. As of Friday 14th, Jim Justice signed Bill 302 into law. With this law in effect, performing an abortion is now a felony, punishable by up to 10 years of prison. The threat of losing medical licensing is also a penalty physician and doctors face.

Now, Governor Justice is facing much backlash from democratic legislators and Delegates on social media. On Twitter, Kayla Young, a Legislator of District 56, stated that the Republican party “know it’s impossible” to do the paperwork that is now required to obtain an abortion. Mike Pushkin, Delegate of District 37, focused on the contradiction of the Governor and his stance on abortion saying that “in 2016 he claimed to be pro-choice, of course, he said it behind closed doors…the same way he signed this horrible piece of legislation.” Shawn Fluharty the Minority Whip in the House mentioned the decision of HB-302 being made without any medical professional, calling it an extremist move.

Read the HB 302 West Virginia Legislature Text