The Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act went into effect on June 9.
On March 12 with just five minutes left in the regular 60-day session, the bill supported by West Virginians for Life (WVFL), successfully passed in the West Virginia Senate by a bipartisan 27-5 vote after an 81-17 vote in the House of Delegates earlier in the day. Governor Jim Justice signed the bill in front of an exuberant audience nine days later on World Down Syndrome Day.
The bill is protecting unborn babies from being aborted due to a diagnosis of a disability and requires doctors to provide educational materials and information on the support systems available to families raising children with disabilities.
Kurt Kondrich, advocate for “Embrace Don’t Erase” Down syndrome, along with his daughter Chloe, lobbied for the bill. The day of the bill signing, he was heard to say, “This is the BEST day ever!”
“Killing an unborn child because of a disability is an extreme form of discrimination against people with disabilities,” said West Virginians for Life Political Liaison Karen Cross. “I’m so proud of the West Virginia Legislature for protecting these vulnerable babies with disabilities from abortion.”
After the victory, National Right to Life (NRLC) State Legislative Director Ingrid Duran stated, “The National Right to Life Committee applauds the great state of West Virginia for putting a stop to eugenic abortions and providing helpful resources for families that are given a disability diagnosis in their unborn child.”
WVFL President Wanda Franz, Ph.D., pointed out that, “worldwide, a substantial body of research conducted over the past several decades has revealed that women who chose to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal anomaly compared with those who carried their babies to term are at risk for serious, prolonged mental health problems.”
A Marist Poll (January 2021) showed that of the 1,173 adults surveyed, 70% “oppose abortion due to the expectation a child will be born with Down syndrome.”
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