The ban includes exemptions for medical emergencies and for rape and incest victims up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and 14 weeks for children. Victims must report to the police 48 hours before the procedure. Minors can report to the police or a doctor, who must then report this to the police.
The bill requires abortions to be performed by a doctor in a hospital — a provision that at least two Republican lawmakers said was intended to stop abortions at the Women’s Health Center, which has conducted the procedure since 1976 and was the state’s only abortion clinic. Providers who perform illegal abortions can face up to 10 years in prison.
Shortly after lawmakers passed the bill on Tuesday, the executive director of the West Virginia Women’s Health Center, Katie Quiñonez, said the clinic’s attorney advised them to suspend abortions immediately. The staff spent Tuesday evening and Wednesday canceling dozens of appointments and providing resources to book out-of-state appointments and funding to help cover travel and proceedings.
Indiana’s abortion ban — passed in August — began to be enforced Thursday.
Indiana and West Virginia now join more than a dozen states with abortion bans, though most were approved before that Supreme Court ruling and took effect when the court rejected the 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, intensifying ongoing debate inside and outside the GOP, though the proposal is nearly has no chance of becoming law in the Democrat-occupied Congress.