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West Virginia governor signs abortion ban into law

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Friday signed into law a bill banning almost all abortions save for instances of rape, incest, or medical necessity, CNN reports.

The ban, approved by the West Virginia Legislature earlier this week, will take effect immediately, with criminal penalties to begin in 90 days, CNN notes. 

"I've done exactly what I said I would do — I've signed it," Justice said of the legislation at a news conference Friday morning. He noted that he is "proud that I signed it and I believe wholeheartedly that it does one thing that is absolutely so important — it does protect life."

HB 302 does not define "miscarriages, stillbirths, in vitro fertilization, and medical treatment that results in accidental or unintentional death of a fetus" as abortions, CNN summarizes. It makes exceptions for rape and incest up to eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and 14 weeks of pregnancy for minors, so long as law enforcement is notified 48 hours prior to the procedure. It also permits abortions in the event of a nonviable fetus or embryo, a medical emergency, or an ectopic pregnancy. The law requires that abortions be performed by a physician at a hospital, and threatens those who perform the procedure illegally with up to 10 years in prison, adds The Associated Press.  

West Virginia is now the second state to enact a law prohibiting abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) in June.