West Virginia has approved an abortion ban with few exceptions, including one that could make it impossible for the state’s only abortion clinic to offer abortions.
“It is going to shut down that abortion clinic, of that I feel certain,” Republican Sen. Robert Karnes said. “I believe it’s going to save a lot of babies.”
Under the approved legislation, rape and incest victims can obtain abortions up to the eighth week of pregnancy, but the crime must be reported to the police first, the Associated Press reports. Victims who are minors would have up to 14 weeks to obtain an abortion. Abortions would also be allowed under medical emergencies, according to the law.
The police report would need to be filed within 48 hours of trying to receive an abortion, and the woman would have to provide a copy of the report to the abortion clinic.
The stricter law comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decided this year to reverse Roe v. Wade, pushing the issue of abortion back to the states.
The West Virginia bill now heads to Republican Gov. Jim Justice.
During voting at the Senate and House of Delegates in the state, dozens of protestors gathered outside the Capitol rotunda in West Virginia, protesting against the bill. Protestors wore pink shirts that said, “bans off our bodies” and carried signs that read, “abortion is healthcare.”
Also, under the proposed law, surgical abortions would have to be done at state-licensed hospitals by physicians with hospital privileges. Nurse practitioners and medical professionals could face three to 10 years in prison for performing abortion procedures.
Pregnant women who obtain illegal abortions will not face any criminal prosecution.
Kaylen Barker, a spokesperson for the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, said the clinic will not shut down even if the law is passed. She said the clinic also offers services such as HIV prevention, routine women’s health visits and cancer screenings.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.