Politics

West Virginia Legislature Passes Abortion Ban With Some Exceptions

REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

Sarah Weaver Staff Writer
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The West Virginia state legislature voted on Tuesday to ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy with very few exceptions.

The legislation allows abortion if there is a risk of death or “irreversible physical impairment” to the mother, if the pregnancy is ectopic or otherwise nonviable or if the woman became pregnant as the result of rape or incest.

Adult victims of sexual assault are permitted to obtain abortions in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, while minor victims can terminate their pregnancies up until the 14th week. Incidents of rape or incest claimed as exceptions to the ban must be reported to law enforcement. Doctors who perform abortions in violation of the new law risk losing their medical licenses.

“Any physician or other licensed medical practitioner who intentionally or recklessly performs or induces an abortion in violation of this article is considered to have acted outside the scope of practice permitted by law … and is subject to discipline from the applicable licensure board for that conduct, including, but not limited to, loss of professional license to practice,” the bill reads. (RELATED: ‘Authoritarian’: Republicans React To Biden Admin’s VA Office Offering Abortion Services)

The bill also stipulates that babies who are born alive after an attempted abortion be treated with the same level of medical care a doctor would administer to a child born under different circumstances.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center to overturn Roe v. Wade, several states have passed similar laws restricting abortion.

The New York Times reports that, as of Friday, abortion is almost fully banned in 12 states, banned after the sixth week of pregnancy in two and banned after the 15th, 18th, or 20th week of pregnancy in three.