CHARLESTON, W.Va. (CNS) — Republican Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia signed into law the Unborn Child with a Disability Protection and Education Act, which will prohibit an unborn child from being aborted due to a diagnosis of a disability.
He announced he had signed the bill in a tweet to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day March 21.
The law also requires doctors to provide educational materials and information on the support systems available to families raising children with disabilities.
“Killing an unborn child because of a disability is an extreme form of discrimination against people with disabilities,” said Karen Cross, political liaison for West Virginians for Life. “I’m so proud of the West Virginia Legislature for protecting these vulnerable babies with disabilities from abortion.”
The West Virginia Senate passed the bill in a bipartisan 27-5 vote March 12, the final day of the Legislature’s regular 60-day session. The House of Delegates OK’d it earlier in the day in an 81 to 17 vote.
The law allows exceptions for a patient who has a “medical emergency” or a “nonmedically viable fetus.” Physicians who violate the law could have their license to practice medicine suspended or revoked.
Wanda Franz, president of West Virginians for Life, said 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.”
Democratic Delegate Evan Hansen said the bill does nothing to help families with disabilities and called it “an attempt to use people with disabilities as props for an anti-abortion agenda, something that the disability community has not asked for, as far as I know. … It creates government overreach into personal family medical decisions.”
But Ingrid Duran, state legislative director for National Right to Life, said it provides “helpful resources for families that are given a disability diagnosis in their unborn child.”
Her organization “applauds the great state of West Virginia for putting a stop to eugenic abortions,” she said.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103