With the passage of HB 302, the West Virginia Legislature has outlawed abortion, relegating half of the state’s population to second-class status and placing essential, lifesaving healthcare out of reach for tens of thousands.

It’s easy to feel powerless in times like these, but it’s important to remember that people hold the power in our democracy. Justice can and will eventually prevail, but only if we work for it.

The Nov. 2 midterm elections are in less than two months. Since the shameful Dobbs decision was issued, we have seen abortion rights catalyze voters in otherwise deeply pro-Trump states like Kansas. Forced-birth extremists in West Virginia were too afraid to put this question to voters in a post-Roe environment. They fear the will of the people, and they’re right to fear us. That’s why we must demand that every single legislative candidate publicly say whether or not they stand with a majority of West Virginians who oppose this cruel bill. ACLU-WV is publishing all answers to our candidate surveys here. If you don’t see your candidate, contact them and demand answers.

It's never been more important to support the Choice Fund, and Holler Health Justice, which will help low-income West Virginians travel out of state to access the care that they need. Please consider donating today.

We must also have difficult conversations with people in our lives. Do your loved ones know what the Legislature did this week? Do they know that lawmakers followed up their vote with an outrageous resolution that essentially tells women their role in society is to shut up and bear children? Do they know the extremists openly stated “the criminalization of abortion must be only the beginning of West Virginia’s post-Roe initiatives” in that resolution? Do they know that the so-called exceptions for rape and incest in this new law are basically hollow? It’s our job to speak with our friends and family, especially if they disagree with us, and help them understand the facts of just how extreme, regressive, and dangerous this Legislature has become.   

It’s also important that we seek community during this difficult time. That’s why ACLU-WV and the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia will host an outdoor screening of “Ask for Jane” at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 17, at Mylan Park in Morgantown. Thanks to our generous sponsors, tickets to this event are free.

It’s difficult to overstate what a dark time this is for our state. But across the country, people are becoming fed up with the extremist agenda.

Where the path ahead leads us is up to each and every one of us.