CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Legislature handed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions Tuesday, approving a invoice that a number of members of the Republican supermajority mentioned they hope will make it unattainable for the state’s solely abortion clinic to proceed to supply the process.
“It’ll shut down that abortion clinic, of that I really feel sure,” Republican Sen. Robert Karnes mentioned on the Senate flooring, amid shouts from protesters standing outdoors the chamber doorways. “I consider it’s going to avoid wasting numerous infants.”
Below the laws, rape and incest victims would be capable of get hold of abortions at as much as eight weeks of being pregnant, however provided that they report back to regulation enforcement first. Such victims who’re minors would have till 14 weeks to terminate a being pregnant and should report back to both regulation enforcement or a doctor.
Rape and incest victims must report the assault inside 48 hours of getting an abortion, and a affected person should current a replica of a police report or notarized letter to a doctor earlier than the process could be carried out.
Abortions additionally could be allowed in instances of medical emergencies.
The invoice now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who has signed a number of anti-abortion payments into regulation since taking workplace in 2017. Lawmakers resumed debate on the invoice Tuesday after failing to come back to an settlement in late July, giving up the prospect for the state to grow to be the primary to approve new laws limiting entry to abortions because the U.S. Supreme Courtroom’s ruling in June eradicating its protected standing as a constitutional proper.
Each the Senate and the Home of Delegates speedily accepted the invoice, after a number of hours of debate.
Lawmakers inserted a number of provisions they mentioned have been particularly focused on the Girls’s Well being Middle of West Virginia, which was the state’s first abortion clinic when it opened in 1976 following the U.S. Supreme Courtroom’s landmark case Roe v. Wade. It has existed because the state’s sole abortion clinic for years, making it the ever-increasing goal of anti-abortion lawmakers and protesters.
The invoice states that surgical abortions can solely be carried out at a state-licensed hospital by a doctor with hospital privileges. Anyone else who performs an abortion, together with nurse practitioners and different medical professionals, might face three to 10 years in jail. A doctor who performs an unlawful abortion might lose their medical license.
Pregnant individuals who get hold of unlawful abortions won’t face any type of prosecution underneath the invoice, nevertheless.
Kaylen Barker, spokesperson for the Girls’s Well being Middle of West Virginia, mentioned the clinic won’t be shutting down, even when the employees is not capable of present abortions. Like many clinics that carry out abortions, the power didn’t supply the process every day.
Most days are devoted to companies like gender-affirming hormone remedy, HIV prevention and therapy and routine gynecological care — cervical exams, most cancers screenings — principally for low-income sufferers on Medicaid with nowhere else to go.
Democratic Sen. Owens Brown, West Virginia’s solely Black senator, spoke in opposition to the invoice earlier than it handed the Senate. He mentioned when he appears round at his fellow lawmakers, he sees a physique that’s overwhelmingly comprised of white, middle-aged to aged males who’re middle-class or above.
Brown in contrast teams of males passing laws that overwhelmingly impacts girls to legal guidelines that have been handed by white lawmakers when slavery was authorized within the U.S. He mentioned “all legal guidelines will not be good legal guidelines made by males.”
“That’s considerably irrational in some ways to have the ability to apply a regulation that may by no means apply to you,” he mentioned to his fellow lawmakers. “It’s simple so that you can sit there and try this as a result of you’ll by no means must face the results of your actions.”