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West Virginia

Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

West Virginia allows women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care to obtain public funds for abortion services if: (1) medically necessary in light of physical, emotional, psychological, familial, or age factors relevant to the well-being of the woman; (2) continuation of the pregnancy will endanger the woman's life; or (3) the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. W. Va. Dep't of Health & Human Resources, Medicaid Policy Manual Chapter 519 Practitioner Services (Rev. Jan. 16, 2012), at http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bms/Documents/manuals_Chapter_519_Practitioners.pdf;  Medicaid Program, Physician Certification for Pregnancy Termination (May 4, 1994), at https://www.wvmmis.com/Forms/Physician%20Certification%20for%20Pregnancy%20Termination%20Form.pdf.

An unconstitutional statute prohibits public funding for abortion unless: (1) the attending physician and an independent physician concur that the procedure is immediately necessary to preserve the woman's life or to prevent irreversible loss of a major bodily function or an equivalent injury; (2) clear clinical medical evidence indicates that the fetus has severe congenital defects or a terminal disease or is not expected to be delivered; or (3) the woman is a victim of incest or reported rape. W. Va. Code Ann. § 9-2-11 (Enacted 1993).

A court held that this statute violates the West Virginia constitution to the extent that it denies funding for medically necessary abortion care. Women's Health Ctr., Inc. v. Panepinto, 446 S.E.2d 658 (W. Va. 1993).


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