Sept. 16 (UPI) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill into law Friday that outlaws abortion in nearly all cases.
House Bill 302, which was passed by the state’s Republican legislature, prohibits abortion except in certain medical situations, or in cases of rape or incest.
It also allows exceptions if the embryo or fetus is nonviable.
“I’ve done exactly what I said I would do — I’ve signed it,” Justice, a Republican, said at a news conference Friday morning. “I said over and over and over that I stand strongly for life.”
The new law not only makes getting an abortion much more difficult, but it also criminalizes anyone who performs the procedure with up to 10 years in prison.
Alisa Clements, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s director of public affairs, argued that the law “will be deadly for the people of our state.”
“The limited exceptions in this bill are so narrow and so tightly restricted that it will make it extremely difficult for people in vulnerable situations — including minors and survivors of sexual assault – to get the care they need,” Clements said in a statement.
West Virginia’s law went into effect just one day after Indiana’s near-total abortion ban took effect. That law bars most abortions at zero weeks of life, with exceptions for rape or incest up to 10 weeks after fertilization, to save the mother’s life and for a lethal fetal anomaly.
It also also terminates the licensure of abortion clinics, so there would be no existing licensed abortion providers for Indiana women to turn to if they are among the abortion exceptions in the law.