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CHARLESTON, West Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday signed into law a sweeping pro-life bill banning nearly all abortions in the Mountain State with narrow exceptions.
The news comes just days after the Republican-led legislature voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure, which prohibits abortion from the moment of implantation except to save the life of the mother or for babies conceived in rape or incest. Abortionists who violate the law could face the revocation of their medical license or felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said he has signed the abortion bill passed in the West Virginia Legislature on Tuesday, Sept. 13. https://t.co/bDuzBs9YAr
— WOWK 13 News (@WOWK13News) September 16, 2022
READ: West Virginia governor expected to sign pro-life bill banning most abortions
Gov. Justice, who promised to “always defend the right to life for very unborn child,” affirmed Friday that the bill he signed will protect the lives of preborn West Virginians.
“It has come to my desk, and I want to tell you right now exactly, I have done exactly, what I said I would do, I signed it. It’s done. It is absolutely done,” Justice said, according to local CBS affiliate WOWKTV.
West Virginia’s pro-life law will take effect immediately, with criminal penalties for violators enforceable in 90 days.
Doctors who break the law will have their licenses revoked. Anyone other than a licensed physician who commits an abortion will face felony charges and between three and 10 years in prison. Women who obtain illegal abortions will not be prosecuted.
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, the measure will only allow abortions when deemed “necessary” to save the life of the mother or, narrowly, in cases of rape or incest. Abortions committed in cases of rape or incest will be legal only if a woman reports the incident to law enforcement and obtains the abortion within the first eight weeks of pregnancy (14 weeks for minors).
READ: Abortion ‘absolutely never medically necessary’: maternal care expert symposium
The measure will clarify aspects of the state’s 173-year-old pro-life law, which predated West Virginia’s statehood and became dormant after the U.S. Supreme Court created a federal “right to abortion” in Roe v. Wade (1973). The law was reactivated in June after the Supreme Court overturned Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, but was blocked in July by a circuit judge who declared it would be “inequitable” to allow the old law to be enforced until it was amended.
RELATED: Here’s where abortion is banned or protected in post-Roe America, with interactive map
SIGN: The Supreme Court must hear the appeal of Aaron and Melissa Klein as they seek to vindicate their right to decline baking cakes that violate their religious beliefs.
Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein have been through hell since 2013 when they were sued for refusing to bake a gay-wedding cake that violated their religious beliefs as Christians.
They hope the Supreme Court will hear their appeal against a ruling that ultimately put Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of business and resulted in a state-imposed fine of $135,000.
This persecution of Christians by liberal judges must be corrected by the Supreme Court.
SIGN: I stand with Aaron and Melissa Klein in their fight for justice.
Melissa was forced to bake from home with her husband and five children in September 2013 when a sustained hate campaign dried up business at the store and eventually forced them to fold in 2016.
The Kleins have been embroiled in a never-ending struggle since to uphold the right of all Christians to decline participating in events and messages that violate their faith.
It's time Christians and people of good-will brought this terrible injustice to light.
SIGN: We demand the U.S. Supreme Court hear the appeal of Aaron and Melissa Klein.
First Liberty lawyers hope the Supreme Court will overturn an Oregon ruling that put the Kleins out of business.
A statement by First Liberty reads: Our attorneys argue that the Constitution protects the Kleins and all Americans from being forced to express a message with which they disagree. The brief states, “Forcing artists to design, create, and decorate custom products against their strongest beliefs abridges the freedom protected by the Free Speech Clause” of the First Amendment.
“Having to shut down the shop was devastating,” Melissa told First Liberty. “Watching something our family had worked so hard on for years to build just disappear in such a short time—it crushed me.”
Thankfully the $135,000 fine was reduced to $30,000 this July by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, but the principle at play is much more valuable to the Kleins than money.
SIGN: The Supreme Court MUST defend the Klein's First Amendment rights.
Please SHARE this petition after signing it, as this case deserves the urgent attention of every American.
After weeks of deliberation, lawmakers drafted a bill that easily passed both the House and the Senate Tuesday.
Two pro-life Republican state senators who spoke with LifeSiteNews Thursday said the legislation they passed, and which has since been signed into law by the governor, is much stronger than an earlier draft that left too many loopholes.
State Sen. Robert Karnes told LifeSite the amended bill, which he said will end abortions in the state’s last abortion facility, is “[v]ery positive,” but added that legislators “still need to address several other items,” including prohibitions on advertising out-of-state abortion services.
State Sen. Patricia Rucker told LifeSite “[i]t is the intent of pro-life legislators in WV to continue to tighten our law and do all we can to support mothers and encourage adoption or support so mothers keep their children, in addition to making abortions rare.”
West Virginia has become the second state in the U.S. to successfully pass a nearly total statewide abortion ban following the Supreme Court’s rollback of Roe v. Wade after Indiana did so early last month.