W.Va. gov signs law barring abortion because of disability

Mar 21, 2022, 12:26 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed a new law barring parents from seeking abortion care because they believe their child will be born with a disability.

Justice posted about his signature of the “Unborn Child with a Disability Protection and Education Act” on Twitter on Monday. He made the announcement about the new law in a tweet to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.

He said the bill gives “deserved respect to our Down Syndrome community.”

The law prohibits people from seeking abortions because their child will have a disability, except in the case of a medical emergency or in cases where a fetus is “nonmedically viable.”

It was one of the more controversial bills passed during the 2022 legislative session. Its supporters said it would help protect people with disabilities. Others say the proposal was just another tool to further limit abortion in West Virginia, which is currently barred after 20 weeks.

During a 90-minute debate on the bill during the last day of the legislative session on March 12, Democratic Del. Evan Hansen said the bill would do nothing of substance to help people with disabilities and their families.

“This is an attempt to use people with disabilities as props for an anti-abortion agenda, something that the disability community has not asked for, as far as I know — and that’s just wrong,” Hansen said. “It creates government overreach into personal family medical decisions.”

A physician who violates the law could see their license to practice medicine suspended or revoked.

The bill also requires physicians to submit a report — with patients’ names omitted — to the state for each abortion they perform and whether “the presence or presumed presence of any disability in the unborn human being had been detected.”

The reports would include the date of the abortion and the method used, as well as confirming the doctor asked the patient if they chose to have an abortion because the baby might have a disability. These reports must be submitted within 15 days of each abortion.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

1 day ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

1 day ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

2 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

4 days ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

5 days ago

W.Va. gov signs law barring abortion because of disability