West Virginia governor signs bill banning abortions based on disability
Governor Jim Justice
West Virginia governor signs bill banning abortions based on disability

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill Monday that would ban parents from seeking abortions because of potential disability.

The “Unborn Child with a Disability Protection and Education Act” would ban such abortions except in the case of medical emergency or if the fetus is found to “nonmedically viable.”

Justice announced the signing on Twitter in a post marking World Down Syndrome Day. Proponents of the legislation say that it will protect persons with disabilities, while opponents claim that it is just another way of limiting abortion access in the state.

Similar bills in other states have faced legal challenges. In August a group of Arizona plaintiffs challenged a ban on abortions for reasons of a diagnosis of Down syndrome or other genetic abnormalities. That law was put on hold in September.

A federal appeals court upheld a similar reason ban in Ohio last April, while a different appeals court blocked such a ban in Missouri in June. The split between the circuits increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court may step in to review abortion bans based on genetic abnormalities.