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West Virginia GOP Governor Signs Law Protecting Unborn Babies With Down Syndrome from Abortion

AP Photo/Chris Jackson

On Monday, Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the “Unborn Child with Down Syndrome Protection and Education Act (S.B. 468)” into law. The law prohibits discriminatory abortions performed because of a disability, including Down syndrome. The date of the bill signing coincided with World Down Syndrome Day, which is recognized March 21. 


The bill was passed by West Virginia state lawmakers this month, as Townhall covered. The law will go into effect in June.

Majorie Dannenfelser, the president of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, published a statement praising West Virginia for enacting a law against discriminatory abortions.

“West Virginia takes a bold step forward today in the fight against eugenic discrimination in America. Research shows 99% of people with Down syndrome lead happy lives, yet instead of being cherished and included, far too often they are targeted for destruction in the womb where they are most vulnerable. We are proud to stand with West Virginians, the community of self-advocates and their loved ones calling on our nation to ‘embrace, not erase’ Down syndrome.

 We are grateful for Governor Justice’s swift action and for all our local pro-life allies, especially our National Pro-Life Caucus members Del. Kayla Kessinger and Sen. Patricia Rucker, who worked tirelessly up to the final minutes of the session to get these vital protections enacted in the law. As we await a decision in the landmark Dobbs case, we hope the people of every state will soon have the chance to modernize our laws.”


West Virginia’s law comes as several states with GOP governors draft legislation protecting the unborn. Lawmakers in both Florida and Arizona are pushing legislation banning abortions at 15 weeks, which is commonplace in most European countries, as Townhall covered.

The legislation in both Florida and Arizona is similar to legislation in Mississippi that is currently under review by the Supreme Court. The case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization surrounds a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. The Court heard oral arguments on Dec. 1. A decision is expected this summer.

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