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West Virginia

Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

A woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 24 hours after her physician or health professional orally by telephone or in person:  (1) describes the medical risks associated with the procedure, including, when medically accurate, infection, hemorrhage, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility; (2) informs her of the probable gestational age of the embryo or fetus; and (3) describes the risks of carrying the pregnancy to term.

In addition, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, the woman must receive a state-mandated lecture by the physician or physician's agent, by telephone or in person, that must include:  (1) that medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (2) that the "father" is liable for child support even if he has offered to pay for the abortion; and (3) that she has a right to review state-prepared materials in print or on the state website that describe the fetus or embryo and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.

The state-prepared materials must:  (1) include a comprehensive list of names and telephone numbers geographically indexed public and private agencies and services available to assist the woman through the pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent, including adoption agencies, or must provide a toll-free, 24-hour telephone number to obtain the list; (2) describe with realistic and appropriate pictures or drawings, the anatomical physiological characteristics of the fetus at two-week increments, including information on the possibility of fetal survival; and (3) describe the common methods of abortion and the medical risks commonly associated with each, the "possible detrimental psychological effects" of abortion, and the medical risks associate with carrying a pregnancy to term.

W. VA. Code Ann. §§ 16-2I-1 to -3 (Enacted 2003).

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