CHARLESTON — The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee today advanced Senate Bill 468, a bill that bans abortion based on the supposed reason behind a person’s decision. Physicians who violate the provision would be subject to loss of their medical license.
S.B. 468 would prevent a person from having an abortion if they are seeking one because of the results of prenatal testing, including the “presence or presumed presence of a genetic, physical, emotional, or intellectual disability or diagnosis.” Unlike other so-called “reason bans” passed in other states, West Virginia’s bill applies to a broad range of fetal diagnoses. As a result, even when confronted with a prenatal diagnosis certain to lead to an early, painful death — such as Tay- Sachs disease or anencephaly — parents would not have the option to terminate the pregnancy.
S.B. 468 now advances to the Senate Finance Committee.
“This abortion ban interferes in private family decisions and punishes doctors for having honest conversations with their patients about the potential health outcomes of their pregnancy,” said Emily Womeldorff, Constituency Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “With this bill, politicians will force people to carry a pregnancy against their will, even if their baby would never survive outside of the womb, and take control of a family’s decision during a medical crisis. No matter your personal views on abortion, we should all agree that politicians have no place making that decision for someone else.”
On February 15, The House of Delegates passed House Bill 4004, a bill banning abortion starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy.