WV House Sends Protections for Unborn Children With Down Syndrome to Gov. Justice’s Desk

Contact: Mary Owens, [email protected] 

6th Circuit Will Consider Similar TN Law After SCOTUS Decision in Dobbs Case

Washington, D.C. – Today the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) celebrated the West Virginia House of Delegates’ passage of the Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act (S.B. 468). Sponsored by State Sen. Patricia Rucker (R-16) and Delegate Kayla Kessinger (R-32) in the House, the legislation prohibits discriminatory abortions due to a disability and requires health care practitioners to provide up-to-date, evidence-based educational information to parents of a child newly diagnosed with a disability such as Down syndrome. The bill passed the Senate earlier this month by a 28-5 vote and now heads to Governor Jim Justice’s desk. 

SBA List State Policy Director Sue Liebel praised West Virginia lawmakers, saying:

“In passing this legislation, the West Virginia Legislature sent a strong message that eugenic discrimination abortions have no place in our society. Research shows 99% of people with Down syndrome lead happy lives, yet more than two-thirds of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. West Virginians believe no child should be targeted for discrimination and Down syndrome should never be a death sentence. We thank all our local pro-life allies, especially our National Pro-Life Caucus members Del. Kayla Kessinger and Sen. Patricia Rucker, for standing with vulnerable children. We eagerly look forward to seeing Gov. Justice sign this bill into law and hope the people of every state will soon have the chance to modernize our laws.”

Last month the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a Tennessee law that prohibits discriminatory abortions based on sex, race or prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome to go into effect while litigation continues. The court further stated that it would wait to hear the case until after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that will address whether all pre-viability abortion limits are unconstitutional. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on December 1, 2021, and a decision is expected by the summer of 2022.

In 2018 West Virginia voters passed Amendment 1, a pro-life ballot initiative to stop taxpayer-funded abortions. The amendment is estimated to save 1,500 lives a year, contributing to a significant decrease in abortions in the state.

Alternatives to Abortion: Pro-life pregnancy centers in West Virginia served more than 6,000 women, men, youth and families in 2019, at an estimated value of $686,000.

SBA List is a network of 900,000 pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders. 



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