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'Born Alive' Abortion Bill Continues Forward, Clears West Virginia Senate Health Committee

Will Price
West Virginia Legislative Photography
In this file photo, Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, chairs a meeting of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee. The panel approved a bill known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2020.

A bill known as the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has cleared a first committee in the West Virginia Senate after passing the House of Delegates earlier this session. The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee cleared House Bill 4007 Thursday on a 11-1 roll call vote. 

Sen. Corey Palumbo, a Democrat from Kanawha County who is not running for re-election this year, was the only member of the health committee to vote no. 

The measure calls on doctors to use “reasonable medical judgement” to protect the life of a fetus that survives an unsuccessful abortion. 

West Virginia currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The state’s lone abortion provider self-imposes a ban at 16 weeks. But a fetus is generally not considered viable until 23 weeks.

Before the bill passed the House of Delegates, Democrats called the measure a political stunt that accomplishes nothing and further stigmatizes a common medical procedure. However, only five members of the minority in the lower chamber voted against the bill. 

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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