CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, stating that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a right to abortion. The decision eliminates the nearly 50-year-old ruling that the Constitution did provide that right and returns the right to limit or ban abortions to state governments.

Over the past several months, and even years, several states have passed “trigger laws” that completely or partially ban abortions. This means that the laws were passed so that should the case be overturned, as it just was, those laws would either go into effect immediately, after a certain amount of time, or after the details of the law are sorted out.

In other states, such as West Virginia, abortion was already illegal at the time Roe v. Wade’s ruling went into effect, creating a federal level of protection for the right to get an abortion. In the Mountain State, that law was never removed from the state code, and with Roe v. Wade now overturned, abortion could again become classified as a felony offense in the state. However, newer laws still make it unclear if that will be the case.

As of now, the state’s oldest law on abortion in the WV State Code (a 1848 holdover law from Virginia) reads:

Any person who shall administer to, or cause to be taken by, a woman, any drug or other thing, or use any means, with intent to destroy her unborn child, or to produce abortion or miscarriage, and shall thereby destroy such child, or produce such abortion or miscarriage, shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than three nor more than ten years; and if such woman die by reason of such abortion performed upon her, such person shall be guilty of murder. No person, by reason of any act mentioned in this section, shall be punishable where such act is done in good faith, with the intention of saving the life of such woman or child.

West Virginia State Code §61-2-8

In more recent years, West Virginia has passed legislation that only bans abortion after 20 weeks, and in March, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a law banning people from seeking abortion care because they believe their child will be born with a disability.

Due to the multiple laws on the books for abortion in the state, the governor says he “will not hesitate to call a special session to clarify the state’s laws if needed.

Justice has already released a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s courageous decision today. I’ve said many times that I very proudly stand for life and I am rock-solid against abortion, and I believe that every human life is a miracle worth protecting. I will not hesitate to call a special session after consulting with the Legislature and my legal team if clarification in our laws needs to be made.”

WV Gov. Jim Justice