NRL News

Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act passes WV Senate 27-5, Now awaits Governor’s Signature 

by | Mar 14, 2022

By Mary Anne Buchanan

WVFL Political Liaison Karen Cross, Lead Sponsor Senator Patricia Rucker, and WVFL President Wanda Franz, Ph. D.

With just four minutes left in the regular 60-day session, the Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act (SB 468), a 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. 

The bill will protect unborn babies from being aborted due to a diagnosis of a disability and will require doctors to provide educational materials and information on the support systems available to families raising children with disabilities. 

Lead Sponsor was Senator Patricia Rucker with cosponsors Senators Mike Azinger, Donna Boley, Charlie Clements, Amy Nichole Grady, Robert Karnes, Mike Maroney, Mark Maynard, Rupie Phillips, Rollan Roberts, Randy Smith, David Stover, Dave Sypolt, Eric Tarr, Jack Woodrum, and Patrick Martin. House Lead Sponsor of companion bill HB 4337 was Delegate Kayla Kessinger. 

“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.” 

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.” 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.” 

With the expected signature by Governor Jim Justice, the bill will take effect July 1, 2022.

Categories: State Legislation