West Virginia lawmakers began the new year Thursday by advancing a bill to protect babies who survive abortions from infanticide.
The West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee approved the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, or House Bill 4007, in a voice vote, WV Public Broadcasting reports. Democrat Del. Danielle Walker opposed the bill.
The legislation would require abortionists to provide reasonable medical care to a baby who survives an abortion.
It requires physicians to “exercise the same degree of reasonable medical judgment to preserve the life and health of the child as a physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and to ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.”
The pro-life bill now moves forward to the full state House for consideration.
Though babies’ survivals have been called “imaginary” and protections for them unnecessary, state health data indicates that at least 40 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2016 and 2018.
The 40 known abortion survivors were documented in just three states, meaning their likely are many more. According to the state health data, 11 babies were born alive after botched abortions in Minnesota, 10 in Arizona and 19 in Florida.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the personal testimonies of nurses and abortion survivors themselves, also provide evidence that babies survive abortions. According to the CDC, at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S., though there may be more.
Research by the American Center for Law and Justice estimated the number is much higher, at least 362 between 2001 and 2010.
Despite the strong need for protections for babies who survive abortions, Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate blocked a federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act almost 100 times in 2019.
Currently, about 18 states do not have laws to protect abortion survivors from infanticide. Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least two others, New York and Illinois, repealed their laws requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.
In 2019, Texas passed a law strengthening protections for infants who survive abortions. The state legislatures in Montana, North Carolina and Wisconsin did as well; however, their Democratic governors vetoed the legislation. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers argued that the legislation was “not a productive use of time.”