The Attorney General’s Office has received numerous calls and inquiries after United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case overturned the cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These two cases determined that a women had a fundamental right in their choice to have an abortion. Recently, however, the Supreme Court shifted gears. In a 79-page opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the Court stated that “[a]abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
In essence, the Supreme Court found the legal reasoning in Roe and Casey to be deficient. It did not, however, ban the states and territories of this nation to allow abortion. Abortion in the Virgin Islands is legal and shall remain legal until such time that our Virgin Islands Legislature states otherwise. The law is clear and concise and provided in full below:
14 V.I.C. §151 states:
(a) “Abortion” means the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.
(b) An abortion may be performed in this Territory only with the written consent of the pregnant female and only if it is performed:
1. within, up to and including 12 weeks after the commencement of pregnancy, by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this Territory or by a physician practicing medicine in the employ of the government of the Virgin Islands;
2. after 12 weeks, up to and including 24 weeks after the commencement of the pregnancy, by a surgeon or gynecologist licensed to practice medicine in this Territory or by a surgeon or gynecologist practicing medicine in the employ of the government of the Virgin Islands, and the abortion is performed in a hospital licensed by the Department of Health; and
3. after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if the provisions of paragraph 2 of this subsection are complied with and the surgeon or gynecologist has reasonable cause to believe that there is substantial risk that the continuation of pregnancy will endanger the life or health of the pregnant female.
14 V.I.C. § 152 states:
Submission by a female to an abortion is permissible (1) within, up to and including 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy or (2) after 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy when she believes that such abortion is being performed by a duly licensed or employed surgeon or gynecologist, acting under a reasonable belief that such abortion is necessary to preserve her life or health.
14 V.I.C. § 156 states:
Any person who performs or procures an abortion other than as authorized by this chapter is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not exceeding $1,000 or imprisoned not exceeding 5 years, or both.
These laws shall remain in effect unless or until changed by our local Legislature.