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West Virginia to consider ‘born-alive bill’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) A nationwide debate over abortion rights is making its way to West Virginia.

In the next legislative session, lawmakers plan to introduce a 'born-alive' bill. The legislation would essentially protect the life of a child born during an abortion.

Del. Jeff Pack, (R) Raleigh County, is a co-sponsor of the legislation which would require that the babies receive the same care as any other child delivered during the same gestational age.

"I think our humanity requires that we recognize that a living, breathing person outside the womb at the very least is a human being and deserves all the same care we would give you or I or our children."

So just how common is it for babies to be born alive during an abortion? Opponents of the legislation when it was considered by the U.S. Senate in February of 2019 say it is rare -- being used as a political tool to stoke divisions.

But the most commonly cited report from the CDC says that it does happen. Between 2003-2014, there were 143 cases of babies born alive during an attempt to terminate the pregnancy.

When it does happen, lead sponsor of the legislation, Del. Kayla Kessinger, (R) Fayette County, wants to make sure caretakers and medical professionals make every effort to save that child's life .

"Doctors should do everything they can to protect those lives. There are plenty of stories of babies that have been born alive during an abortion. When a baby takes its first breath, the medical community has a responsibility to sustain that."

U.S. Sen Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia, was among Democrats who crossed party lines to vote on moving forward a similar piece of legislation in the Senate. But the measure ultimately failed, leaving it up to states to decide when to intervene.

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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