CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Governor Jim Justice said he will sign the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” Monday, March 2 at 2 p.m.
The bill was first introduced in the house on January 8th and Governor Jim Justice said when it cleared both houses of the legislature, he would “proudly sign the bill into law so that innocent babies who survive an abortion are protected…”
The passage of the bill in both houses did not come without criticism.
WV Free COO, Julie Tawney Warden said the bill is a “politically charged piece of legislation aimed to stigmatize abortion care and target pro-choice elected officials during an election year.
“We are disappointed that the legislature would spend time on that type of bill, but are hopeful that they will pass other important bills regarding reproductive healthcare,” said Warden.
There is only one abortion clinic in the state, which only performs abortions up until 16 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions are also performed by some individual doctors.
The “Born Alive” bill also makes it possible to investigate and prosecute doctors for failing to comply with the law. Opponents said they plan to challenge this bill in federal.
The West Virginia Senate unanimously approved the amended, “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.” The bill will now go to Gov. Justice who pledged to sign it.
In a press release, Justice previously said when the bill reaches his desk, he will “proudly sign the bill into law so that innocent babies who survive an abortion are protected and to ensure they receive lifesaving care.”
“It is a great day when West Virginians of all political stripes come together to protect innocent human life and make our state a more compassionate place,” he said. “This week we will have just that opportunity.”
The Born-Alive Bill, which passed the house by a 93-5 margin on January 15, will require the same degree of medical care to be provided to any baby surviving an abortion as any child born alive at the same gestational age. Proponents of the bill said they believe the state needs the legislation due to current federal policy insufficiently protecting babies born alive following an attempted abortion.