Protestors rally outside the Senate chamber at the West Virginia state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., as lawmakers debated a sweeping bill to ban abortion in the state with few exceptions on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
Leah Willingham | AP
West Virginia’s Legislature passed a sweeping abortion ban with few exceptions Tuesday, approving a bill that several Republicans said they hope will make it impossible for the state’s only abortion clinic to continue to offer the procedure.
Under the legislation, rape and incest victims would be able to obtain abortions at up to eight weeks of pregnancy, but only if they report to law enforcement first. Such victims who are minors would have until 14 weeks to terminate a pregnancy and must report to either law enforcement or a physician.
Rape and incest victims would have to report the assault within 48 hours of getting an abortion, and a patient must present a copy of a police report or notarized letter to a physician before the procedure can be performed.
Abortions also would be allowed in cases of medical emergencies.
Lawmakers resumed debate on the bill after failing to come to an agreement in late July, giving up the chance for the state to become the first to approve new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June removing its protected status as a constitutional right.