Protecting Abortion Survivors in WV

Mar 4, 2020

CHARLESTON, WV -- Governor Jim Justice signed a bill into law this week that holds doctors accountable if they do not provide the same standard medical care to any infant delivered alive after an attempted abortion procedure. 

HB 4007, known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, requires physicians to use “reasonable medical judgment” to preserve the life and health of the child as given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, including immediate transportation to a hospital and mandatory reporting of violations. 

Any physician or other licensed medical professional who knowingly and willingly violates this law is subject to discipline from the applicable licensure board and loss of professional license. The bill also criminalizes the “failure to exercise such judgment” and makes such a failure of judgement a “violation of medical licensure standards.” 

According to the HB 4007, “born alive means the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of the fetus, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.”

The bill passed the West Virginia Senate unanimously and passed 92-6 in the House of Delegates with bipartisan support. 

Gov. Justice said, “This is an absolute no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said for a long time, even back before I took office as Governor, that I would support measures like this because every human life – born or unborn is precious and truly a gift from God. It’s unbelievable that we even have to go through this process for something that seems like it’s just common sense. But, at the same time, we should be really proud that we’re defending the lives of our most vulnerable.” 

HB 4007 is very similar to the federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which 41 Democrats in the U.S. Senate tragically blocked in a vote early last week. However, more than 30,000 medical professionals from  the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, Catholic Medical Association and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and state, “There is no scientific or legal reason to distinguish between human beings born after an attempted abortion and human beings born after attempted live birth. In cases where the mother’s life actually is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion... We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “I applaud West Virginia legislators for protecting the lives of precious babies that have survived an abortion and are fighting for life. If this protection is not implemented, the abortion provider simply backs away from the table and leaves the baby to suffer and die. We must continue the fight to make the womb a safe place once again in America,” said Staver. 

Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost.