- The law that almost completely bans abortion in West Virginia was signed on Friday by Republican Governor Jim Justice.
WASHINGTON – A law that restricts the right to abortion in almost all cases in the state of West Virginia, with exceptions only in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger, went into effect this Friday.
Republican Governor Jim Justice today signed that law, which was approved by both Houses of the state legislature on Tuesday. The ban takes effect immediately, but the sanctions, which include penalties for doctors who illegally perform abortions, will take effect in 90 days.
The legislation contemplates exceptions in case of rape or incest but with limits of eight weeks of gestation for adults and 14 for minors. In both cases, the victim must report the crime to the authorities before being able to abort and file the notarized complaint.
Until now, abortion was legal in West Virginia up to twenty weeks of gestation.
The state -one of the most conservative in the country- thus becomes the second to ratify a new legislation prohibiting abortion by law since the US Supreme Court reversed in June the Roe vs. Wade ruling, which since 1973 had protected the right to termination of pregnancy.
In August, Indiana – also under Republican control – was the first state to take this step, and the state’s abortion-ban law went into effect Thursday.
Twelve other states have restricted the procedure through “spring-loaded” laws, designed to take effect just as abortion rights were struck down by the Supreme Court.
Indiana and West Virginia are the only states since June that have passed a new bill to restrict abortion.
In the also conservative state of Kansas, however, voters were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping abortion rights intact as currently regulated in the state Constitution in a referendum in August, in a resounding defeat for the Republicans.
In parallel, this same Tuesday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham presented a federal bill aimed at prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks of gestation throughout the United States and that only includes exceptions in case of incest, rape or danger to the life of Mother.