West Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Stop Infanticide, Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 10, 2020   |   5:33PM   |   Charleston, WV

A bill to protect babies who survive abortions from infanticide is very close to becoming law in West Virginia.

The state Senate unanimously passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, House Bill 4007, on Monday in a 32-0 vote, WOWK News reports. The state House passed the bill in January, and pro-life advocates believe Republican Gov. Jim Justice will sign it.

“Once again West Virginia legislators have shown overwhelming bipartisan support of a simple, compassionate, commonsense bill to protect babies in the Mountain State who might survive abortions,” said West Virginians For Life legislative coordinator Karen Cross.

Because of amendments added in the Senate, the bill must return to the House for final approval, according to the local news.

The legislation requires abortionists to provide reasonable medical care to a baby who survives an abortion. According to the bill, physicians must “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.”

Cross thanked state lawmakers for their strong bi-partisan support. She encouraged pro-lifers to attend Pro-Life Rally Day at the Capitol on Feb. 24 when they hope to celebrate the final passage of the bill.

While celebrating the victory for babies in West Virginia, Cross also lamented that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats have not been cooperative with similar federal legislation. In 2019, Pelosi blocked the federal Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act more than 80 times.

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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 in just three states between 2016 and 2018. 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 likely are 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.”