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West Virginia Abortion Laws

The topic of abortion can be one of the most vigorously argued in America. So what exactly are the abortion laws in different states and how do they work? While abortion is permitted under the Constitution, states are allowed to set some regulations regarding how and when abortions can be performed. Here's a quick introduction to abortion laws in West Virginia.

West Virginia Statutes

While abortion is legal in West Virginia, the state law has several requirements before an abortion can be performed. State abortion statutes require notification of one parent prior to an abortion, and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period during which a woman must also receive counseling and a notification of services. The details of West Virginia’s abortion statutes are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code 16-2F-1, et seq.: Parental Notifications of Abortion;

West Virginia Code 33-42-8: Partial-Birth Abortions Prohibited;

West Virginia Code 61-2-8: Abortion (held unconstitutional by Doe v. Charleston Area Medical Ctr., Inc. 529 F.2d 638 (4th Circ. 1975))

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

Administer substance or use means with intent to destroy unborn child or produce abortion; unless in good faith to save woman or child. Partial Birth abortion: any person knowingly performing a partial birth abortion other than to save the life of mother endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury is guilty of a felony and shall be fined $10,000 to $50,000 and/or imprisoned not more than two years.

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion

Necessary to save life of mother or fetus. performed by an M.D.

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

Performing illegal abortion: felony: imprisonment 3 to 10 years; if mother dies: murder; violation of minor notification requirements: misdemeanor, $500-1,000 fine and/or up to 30 days in county jail

Consent Requirements

24 hours actual notice or 48 hours constructive notice to parent/guardian of minor under 18 who has not graduated from high school, minor can petition court for waiver of notification or it may be waived by another M.D. not associated with attending M.D., unless emergency

Residency Requirements for Patients

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Physician Licensing Requirements

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History of Abortion in America

In Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a Constitutional right to choose to end a pregnancy during the first trimester. Since the case was decided in 1973, abortion in the United States has technically been legal, although the Court also allowed states to regulate certain aspects of their abortion laws. Therefore, states are free to require parental notice, counseling, waiting periods, and ultrasounds prior to an abortion.

More Resources for Abortion Laws in West Virginia

Abortion decisions can be serious. FindLaw’s sections on Abortion, Birth Control, and Health Care Law can provide you additional articles and resources. You can also consult with a West Virginia health care attorney if you would like legal help regarding an abortion matter.

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