Criminal penalties for killing the unborn.
- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed into law a piece of legislation that protects the unborn beginning at conception.
- State House Bill 302 passed the State Senate by a vote of 22-7 and the State House of Delegates with a 78-17 vote.
- The law was the fruition of a promise made by the governor during his run for office, updating the state’s previous abortion ban that has been tied up in courts due to lack of clarity.
- “The final piece of legislation was the passage of the bill that I call that protects life. Many people refer to it as an abortion bill. It has come to my desk, and I want to tell you right now exactly, I have done exactly, what I said I would do, I signed it. It’s done. It is absolutely done,” Justice said.
- HB 302 goes into effect immediately and brings with it criminal punishments for killing the unborn that will go into effect in 90 days.
- The bill contains exceptions for victims of incest and sexual assault for up to eight weeks for adults and up to 14 weeks for minors.
THE GOVERNOR’S OPINIONS ON ABORTION:
- “From the moment the Supreme Court announced their decision in Dobbs, I said that I would not hesitate to call a Special Session once I heard from our Legislative leaders that they had done their due diligence and were ready to act,” Justice previously said in a statement. “As I have said many times, I very proudly stand for life and I believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting.”
- Gov. Justice made it clear he wanted the legislature to create a pro-life bill to “ensure a coherent, comprehensive framework governing abortions and attendant family services and support to expecting mothers to provide the citizens of this State more certainty in the application of such laws.”
- West Virginia’s law comes as states across the union begin to locally legislate the permissibility of abortion following the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
- Texas and Oklahoma banned abortions before Roe was overturned, and Missouri and South Dakota became the first and second states to protect the unborn after the court’s decision.
- The states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisana, Ohio, Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee followed suit.
- Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia all had old pro-life laws in place, but their enforcement has been under strenuous litigation.