by Mary Margaret Olohan
The governor of West Virginia signed a bill into law that protects babies born alive through botched abortions and penalizes doctors for allowing these babies to die.
Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed House Bill 4007 into law Monday, a bill that requires medical practitioners to use “the same degree of reasonable medical judgment to preserve the life of a fetus which is born alive as would be used in a live non-abortion birth of the same gestational age.”
The bill also criminalizes the “failure to exercise such judgment” and makes such a failure of judgement a “violation of medical licensure standards.”
“I truly believe that every human life, born or unborn, is a gift from God,” the governor tweeted Monday.
I truly believe that every human life, born or unborn, is a gift from God. It was a no-brainer for me to sign the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act today. This new law will protect babies who survive an attempted abortion procedure. #WV #WVGov https://t.co/tmHS8wBBXk
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) March 2, 2020
The law is largely seen as symbolic since West Virginia law already forbids abortions after 20 weeks unless the life of the mother is in danger. Women who wish to obtain an abortion in West Virginia must first receive state directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before obtaining the abortion.
State law also requires that the parent of a minor be notified before a minor obtains an abortion.
Justice noted at the signing of the bill that it is “unbelievable, to tell you the truth, that we have to do such a thing.”
“So today we’re going to put a stake in the sand that says for us, for us at least we stand for life and we stand for the right stuff,” Justice said, according to ABC. His office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Democratic West Virginia lawmakers insist that murder is already illegal in the state, drawing on arguments made by Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate regarding the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act votes last week.
“A child born alive who would somehow be killed, that would be murder. It would clearly be murder, there’s nobody doing that and if they do do it, they’re in jail,” said Harrison County Sen. Mike Romano when the West Virginia Senate passed the bill in February, ABC News reports.
Democratic Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin made a similar argument Feb. 25 to the United States senate when he noted that infanticide in the United States is illegal, and suggested Republicans, and in particular Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, were highlighting an issue that did not need attention.
Sasse pointed out that active infanticide is indeed illegal in the United States, but that politicians like Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam have suggested that passive infanticide be legalized.
“What’s actually happening is the senator from Illinois is wanting to obscure the debate because he wants to use euphemisms about choice so that you don’t have to admit to the American public that what’s actually happening on the floor today is probably that like last year, 44 Democrats are gonna filibuster an anti-infanticide bill,” Sasse said.
“There’s nothing in the bill that’s about abortion,” he added.
“Nothing! It’s about infanticide. That’s the actual legislation. And you’ve got 44 people over there that want to hide from it, and talk in euphemisms about abortion, because they don’t want to defend the indefensible.”
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.