By Mary Anne Buchanan, Communications Director, West Virginians for Life
The Unborn Child with Down Syndrome and Education Act is the cornerstone piece of legislation for West Virginians for Life (WVFL) during the 60-day session in Charleston, which began on January 12 and ends March 12.
This legislation will require that a health care practitioner that administers, or causes to be administered, a test for any physical, emotional, or intellectual disability or diagnosis to an expectant or new parent shall, upon receiving a test result that confirms the presence of any disability, provide the expectant or new parent with educational information made available by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources.
The bill also states that an abortion may not be performed because of Down syndrome or other disability, except in a medical emergency.
There are instances when a wrong pre-natal diagnosis is given, such as this story from WVFL Raleigh County Chapter Leader Hilda Shorter, “The doctor called us in and said there was a good chance that my grandson Cooper would be born with Down syndrome and told my daughter she had 10 days to decide to have an abortion. He was born perfect and is a very productive 20-year-old man. She continued, “then four years later, we were gifted with our precious grandson Dalton, who has Down syndrome. He is the love of my life and to everyone he comes in contact with!”
Lead Sponsor in the House is Delegate Kayla Kessinger. Cosponsors include Delegates Jordan Bridges, Adam Burkhammer, Riley Keaton, Margitta Mazzocchi, Laura Kimble, John Pinson, Larry Pack, Dean Jeffries, and Zack Maynard.
Senator Patricia Rucker is Lead Sponsor in the Senate.
WVFL President Wanda Franz stated, “The medical profession must be helped to realize that asking a woman to abort her disabled, unborn baby is introducing unnecessary risks to the physical and mental health of the woman that can be fully avoided. They must begin by accepting the presence of a new human life to be valued and loved, and they must learn to provide the education to help the family to meet the needs of the new family member.”
A rally will take place on Monday, February 7, in the lower rotunda of the Capitol at noon as the highlight of annual Pro-Life Rally Day. Ambassadors for “Embrace Don’t Erase Down Syndrome,” Kurt and daughter Chloe Kondrich, who herself has Down syndrome, will be featured speakers. West Virginians for Life hopes to see a large turnout in support of the bill.
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