West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signs abortion ban into law

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday signed into law a ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy, making West Virginia the second state to enact legislation banning the procedure since the June US Supreme Court ruling. United revoking its constitutional protection.

The bill will take effect immediately, except for the criminal penalties, which will take effect in 90 days, he said. Justice described the legislation on Twitter as “a bill that protects life”.

“I said from the start that if WV lawmakers brought me a bill that protected life and included reasonable and logical exceptions, I would sign it, and that’s what I did today. “, did he declare.

The ban provides exemptions for medical emergencies and for victims of rape and incest up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and 14 weeks for those under 18. Victims must report their assault to law enforcement 48 hours before the procedure. Minors can report to the police or to a doctor, who must then notify the police.

The bill requires abortions to be performed by a doctor in a hospital — a provision that at least two Republican lawmakers say was intended to end abortions at the Women’s Health Center, which has offered the procedure since 1976 and was the only clinic state abortion. . Providers who perform illegal abortions can face up to 10 years in prison.

Shortly after lawmakers passed the bill on Tuesday, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia executive director Katie Quiñonez said the clinic’s attorney advised them to suspend abortions immediately. Dozens of West Virginia women have already had to make canceled appointments at out-of-state clinics in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia, she said.

The Women’s Health Center provided them with resources to book out-of-state appointments and funding to cover travel and procedure costs, Quiñonez said.

After Justice announced he had signed the ban, the ACLU of West Virginia released a statement on Twitter calling the ban a “forced birth bill” and saying the governor had “snubbed the vast majority of West Virginians and sided with the extremists.”

“This law is anything but pro-life. This puts lifesaving healthcare out of reach for tens of thousands of people,” the tweet read. “Our work continues.

Indiana’s abortion ban — signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in August — began to be enforced on Thursday.

Indiana and West Virginia now join more than a dozen states banning abortion, though most were approved before this Supreme Court ruling and went into effect once the court threw out the ban. constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a bill that would ban abortion nationwide after the 15th week of pregnancy, with rare exceptions, heightening the ongoing debate at home and abroad. outside the GOP, although the proposal has almost no chance of becoming law. in Congress held by the Democrats.

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