Born-Alive bill off to fast start in West Virginia legislature

By Mary Anne Buchanan

WVFL Legislative Coordinator Karen Cross with Born-Alive Bill Lead Sponsor Delegate Ruth Rowan

On just the second day of the West Virginia legislature’s 60-day session, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HB 4007) has cleared its first hurdle with little problem.

On Thursday, the West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee passed the bill on a voice vote.

The bill, using model language from National Right to Life, will protect infants born alive following an attempted abortion. HB 4007 will require hospitals and medical personnel to exercise the same degree of care for the baby born alive as a result of a failed abortion, as would be given to any other pre-born child born at the same gestational age. The measure provides for immediate transport to facilities capable of caring for these children.

State Delegate Ruth Rowan is the Lead Sponsor. Co-sponsors include state Delegates Dean Jeffries, Zack Maynard, Eric Porterfield, Geoff Foster, Terry Waxman, Tom Bibby, Caleb Hanna, Trenton Barnhart, and Larry Kump.

The measure now moves on to the House floor for three readings, the first of which will be Monday.

The Senate companion bill is SB 231. Lead Sponsor is state Senator Patricia Rucker. Cosponsors include state Senate President Mitch Carmichael along with state Senators Mark Maynard, Dave Sypolt, Eric Tarr, Sue Cline, Bill Hamilton and Rollan Roberts with the promise of more co-sponsors to come.

“It’s clear that West Virginia’s pro-life legislators consider protecting life a high priority,” said West Virginians for Life Legislative Coordinator Karen Cross.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that between the years 2003 and 2014, at least 143 babies died after being born alive during abortions. The number is likely far higher due to the fact that the CDC relies on state health departments which vary in their thoroughness. Additionally, California, the nation’s most populous state, along with Maryland and New Hampshire have not reported any abortion figures to the CDC since 1998.