WASHINGTON — Late Saturday, West Virginia’s “Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act” passed in the West Virginia House of Delegates after passing in the Senate earlier this month. It will now go to Governor Jim Justice for his signature.
West Virginia’s “Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act” protects unborn babies by preventing abortions based on any disabilities in the unborn child like a Down syndrome diagnosis—except in medical emergencies or in the case of a fatal diagnosis. The law also requires that health care practitioners provide expectant parents with “up-to-date, evidence-based information about any in-utero physical, emotional, or intellectual disability or diagnosis.”
“Families given a diagnosis of a disability of their unborn child have a right to be supported and to receive information on resources instead of a referral to an abortion facility,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life (NRL).
In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 67% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome while in utero are aborted.
National Right Life’s state affiliate, West Virginians for Life, worked with state legislators in the state Senate and House of Delegates to protect unborn babies who would be targeted for abortion.
“We praise our very effective affiliate, West Virginians for Life, for their work in seeing this protective legislation enacted,” said Tobias. “No baby should suffer a gruesome death by abortion because he or she has a disability. This legislation will go far in providing parents with factual information they need while protecting unborn children.”
A January 2021 Marist Poll showed that 70% of respondents “oppose abortion due to the expectation a child will be born with Down syndrome.”
The lead sponsor in the West Virginia Senate was Senator Patricia Rucker (R-16) and, in the West Virginia House, it was Delegate Kayla Kessinger (R-32). For more information about anti-discrimination abortion laws in the states, download National Right to Life’s factsheet here.