CHARLESTON — On June 10, 2022, Senate Bill 468, which bans abortion for pregnant people with a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome or other disability, will go into effect. The bill makes narrow exceptions for people who will die as a result of carrying a pregnancy to term and for fatal fetal diagnosis. This bill places undue burden on pregnant West Virginians during a very personal experience.
The bill forces clinicians to interrogate pregnant people and their reason for seeking an abortion. Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, the state’s only remaining abortion provider, believes the bill will cause an environment of distrust between doctors and their patients in West Virginia.
This bill goes into effect as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. West Virginia currently has a pre-Roe abortion ban in its state criminal code. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, abortion could be outlawed in West Virginia as soon as this month.
Katie Quinonez, Executive Director of Women’s Health Center of West Virginia said, “People seek abortion for many reasons, and each of those reasons is valid. This bill will undoubtedly create a distrustful relationship between clinicians and patients, forcing pregnant West Virginians to lie about their medical situation in order to get care. Everyone should be able to access abortion when and how they need it without government interference. We are committed to the autonomy, dignity, health and privacy of our patients, and we will continue to provide legal abortion and support to all West Virginians.
Women’s Health Center of West Virginia remains open and providing abortion, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, STI testing and treatment, pregnancy and parenting support, and wellness exams to the community. If pregnant people seeking abortion have questions about their options, please call (304) 344-9834.