The West Virginia state legislature has passed a measure that would largely prohibit abortions, though the bill includes various exceptions to the ban.
According to the text of the legislation, abortions would be allowed in the event that a licensed medical professional judges that the unborn child is nonviable, that there is an ectopic pregnancy, or that there is a medical emergency.
The abortion ban would not apply during the initial 8 weeks of pregnancy for an adult who became pregnant due to sexual assault or incest, provided that the crime has been reported to authorities. And for minors, incompetent adults, and incapacitated adults, the abortion ban would not be applicable during the initial 14 weeks of pregnancy if the pregnancy occurred due to sexual assault or incest and the crime has been reported to authorities or the person has undergone medical treatment since being victimized.
After clearing the state legislature, the measure was slated to head to Republican Gov. Jim Justice.
“It’s impossible to overstate what a dark day this is for liberty and for the state,” the ACLU of West Virginia tweeted on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned Roe v. Wade: “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” the opinion states.
At the national level, some lawmakers are pushing a ban on abortions if the unborn baby’s gestational age is 15 weeks or more, though the proposal includes exceptions for preserving the mother’s life and for pregnancies that occur due to rape or incest.
The issue of abortion remains a topic of raging debate across the nation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.