By Dave Andrusko
It took until the last day of the session but that only made passage of The Second Chances at Life Act (HB 2982/SB 609) all the sweeter.
This informed consent bill requires that a woman be informed that the effects of the chemical abortion pill can be reversed to save her baby if she changes her mind after taking the first of two drugs, but not the second.
The West Virginia House passed the measure March 24th on a vote of 84-15. On April 10, the Senate did likewise by another lop-sided vote, 27-6. But it was not as easy as the overwhelming vote suggests.
The West Virginia legislature is bi-cameral, so if a bill has undergone changes after leaving the chamber of origin (in this instance, the House), it must return to that chamber for a second vote either to concur or not to concur after being passed in the second of the two chambers. While that final House vote came down within two hours of Senate passage, and the outcome was never really in doubt, it is always an anxiety-producing experience because the clock heading toward midnight does not stop ticking.
“We are very proud of our pro-life legislators here in West Virginia,” said Wanda Franz, President, West Virginians for Life (WVFL). “They showed their compassion for women who change their minds after taking the abortion pill. These women now have a chance to give life to their unborn babies, and all pro-life West Virginians can celebrate those lives saved.”
Added National Right to Life (NRLC) State Legislative Director Ingrid Duran, “NRLC applauds West Virginians for Life and all of the pro-life legislators who worked tirelessly to ensure that women have a right to be informed about the possibility of counteracting the effects of chemical abortions. These laws provide hope and a second chance at life should she choose it, but she must first know that this protocol exists, and that this protocol has already saved over 2,000 babies and hers could be next.”
The percentage of chemical abortions in West Virginia is now 40%, reflecting national trends. When Gov. Jim Justice signs the bill, as anticipated, The Second Chances at Life Act will mean that mothers and their unborn babies will be given a second choice and a second chance. It will also increase the number of states with similar laws to 12.
West Virginia will become either the 11th or 12th state, depending on when Indiana’s governor signs its bill. The other ten states are Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah.
“The bill will do two things,” said West Virginians for Life Political Liaison Karen Cross. “It will inform the girl/woman that if she changes her mind, she may be able to save her baby with the help of medical professionals. And it provides her the ability to act on that information by including a list of medical professionals versed in abortion pill reversal on the existing Department of Health and Human Resources’ Women’s Right to Know website.”
Cross added, “Women deserve full information when making this life changing decision.”
On March 2, 2020, Gov. Justice signed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act “A second bill-signing ceremony in as many years would be quite welcome” said WVFL Communications Director Mary Anne Buchanan.