CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – On Tuesday, March 31st, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued an executive order suspending all elective surgeries and medical procedures in the Mountain State to preserve medical supplies and equipment. One procedure that falls under this order is abortion.
The term ‘elective’ means any surgery or medical procedure that can be rescheduled or is not time-sensitive.
“This is being done to conserve our personal protection equipment for our front line health care workers that are battling this terrible virus,” said Governor Justice.
Pro-choice advocates believe this executive order was not issued to protect West Virginians, but rather fuel a political agenda.
WV Free COO, Julie Tawney Warden said, “we want to ask our leadership, please make sure you’re keeping your priorities in check, please make sure we’re not politicizing a pandemic and we’re not trying to use abortion care during an election year in the middle of a very serious virus that’s killing a lot of people.”
In West Virginia, a woman can only receive an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“Because of this date restrictions that West Virginia has passed, this actually is a time-sensitive, essential medical procedure because they can’t come back and get it done at a later time. There are laws that won’t allow them to do that,” said Warden.
She argued that lawmakers are using the Coronavirus as an excuse to stop abortions, which in turn puts women more at risk of the virus who are now seeking abortions out of state, or taking to extreme measures.
“Folks are going to take matters into their own hands, try self abortions at home, which is going to lead to more individuals needing to go to the hospital for emergency care. During a pandemic, why would we want to do anything that’s going to increase folks needing to go to the hospital,” said Warden?
West Virginia is one of six states that have similar executive orders, including Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.