CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Supreme Court of the United States has overturned Roe v. Wade, removing the federal right to an abortion and leaving the decision up to the states. But how will this change medical care in West Virginia?
With the national decision no longer dictating West Virginia’s abortion laws, the right-leaning state would likely see quick restrictions.
Back in December, Stacker asked the same question, what would happen without Roe v. Wade in West Virginia, and said that West Virginia is at “high risk” of seeing abortion limiting policies. Although there are only two working abortion facilities in West Virginia, Stacker estimated that abortions in the state would decline by 15.5% with Roe v. Wade overturned.
But would West Virginia completely ban abortions if Roe v. Wade was overturned?
Some states had “trigger laws” which immediately banned abortions when Roe v. Wade was overturned Friday morning. West Virginia is not one of the 13 states with such laws, but it does have an unenforced pre-Roe ban. This means that before 1973, West Virginia had a law banning abortions, and if Roe v. Wade was overturned, that law could be enforced again after almost 50 years of being deemed unconstitutional.
Any person who shall administer to, or cause to be taken by, a woman, any drug or other thing, or use any means, with intent to destroy her unborn child, or to produce abortion or miscarriage, and shall thereby destroy such child, or produce such abortion or miscarriage, shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than three nor more than ten years; and if such woman die by reason of such abortion performed upon her, such person shall be guilty of murder. No person, by reason of any act mentioned in this section, shall be punishable where such act is done in good faith, with the intention of saving the life of such woman or child.WEST VIRGINIA STATE CODE §61-2-8
Most West Virginians and lawmakers are in favor of restricting abortion. In 2018, 52% of West Virginia voters decided to amend the state’s constitution and ensure abortion is not protected if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Back in February, the West Virginia House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks, and in March, Gov. Justice signed a law that prevented abortion based on disability of the child.
Immediately following the decision, West Virginia’s Gov. Jim Justice released a statement applauding the SCOTUS decision. His statement also suggested that he would be willing to call a special session to change the West Virginia laws regarding legal abortions.
Back in December, the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade was first introduced to the Supreme Court, and West Virginian officials gave comments about their opinions on the case. Read those statements and opinions.
A draft saying that the U.S. Supreme Court is planning to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked back in March, spurring concerns across the country that the right to an abortion could be extremely limited or eliminated for women in several states.