West Virginia Senate Approves Pro-Life Unborn Victims Legislation
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 3, 2004
Charleston, WV (LifeNews.com) — Eager to become the thirtieth state to pass unborn victims legislation, the West Virginia state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that would make it a crime to kill or injure an unborn child as a result of a violent crime against the mother.
"The 34 – 0 vote is not surprising because polling data reveals that 84% of Americans and 69% of people indicating they are pro-choice favor this type of legislation. Every grieving mother who has lost her child due to violence knows her baby is a victim," Melissa Adkins, Legislative Coordinator for West Virginians for Life said. " West Virginia must protect those innocent and vulnerable babies who cannot defend themselves from criminals."
Not only was the vote overwhelming, it came quickly.
The bill was in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, and in one day passed out of both the Committee and the full Senate. The bill now moves the House, where again there is bipartisan support.
Another bill, SB 570, which would have closed a loophole in that state’s parental notification law, did not make it out of committee. Currently West Virginia law allows not only a judge, but a second abortion practitioner to waive the parent’s right to know that their minor daughter is getting an abortion.
Karen Cross, Executive Director of West Virginians for Life, told LifeNews.com her organization will push that bill again next session.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 29 states have unborn victims laws, most recently Kentucky, and 16 cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy. None of those laws has ever been successfully challenged in Court.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act for a third time last week, and while the Senate is expected to vote on the measure soon, it has never before voted on the measure.
The federal legislation, as well as several similar state bills, have been endorsed by Sharon Rocha, mother of Laci Peterson and grandmother of her unborn child Conner, whose bodies washed up on the California coast last year in a murder investigation that received national attention.
Rocha scolded the Senate for delay tactics at press conference Thursday.
"If Laci and Conner’s Law is not enacted this year, I will keep fighting for it," Rocha added. "I will not hesitate to explain the issue to their voters. To vote against Laci and Conner’s Law, or to obstruct it, is indefensible."
West Virginians for Life – https://www.wvforlife.org
State Unborn Victims Laws Challenges – https://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_Victims/statechallenges.html