Bar Exams in the Pandemic JURIST Digital Scholars
West Virginia Senate approves ‘born alive’ abortion bill
©Wikimedia (formulanone)
West Virginia Senate approves ‘born alive’ abortion bill

The West Virginia Senate approved the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act Monday.  HB4007, mandates that doctors preserve the life of a baby born during a failed abortion. Physicians who fail to preserve such lives would be subjected to losing their medical licenses.

This bill considers a baby “born alive” as the following:

“Born alive” means the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.

This classification has wrought criticism from some doctors. Since West Virginia already bans abortion past 20 weeks of gestation, doctors claim that situations in which a baby would be born alive after an abortion attempt would be extremely rare. These doctors fear the affect this bill could have on doctor-patient relationships.

Governor Jim Justice praised the bill and vowed to sign it into law: “I will proudly sign this bill into law when it comes to my desk because every human life—born and unborn—is precious and a gift from God. As long as I am Governor, I will always defend the right to life for every unborn child.” The bill has been sent back to the West Virginia House for a confirmation vote.