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West Virginia ‘Fetal Heartbeat Act’ (SB 606)

This law was last updated on Aug 28, 2019


This law is Anti–Choice

State

West Virginia

Number

SB 606

Status

Failed to Pass

Proposed

Feb 14, 2019

Topics

Heartbeat Bans, Informed Consent, Physicians Reporting Requirements, Reporting Requirements

Full Bill Text

www.wvlegislature.gov

SB 606 would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person if it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.


Cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.


Detection

The bill would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion without first determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, except in the case of a medical emergency.

The bill defines “medical emergency” to mean:

[…]a condition that in a physician’s good faith medical judgment, based upon the facts known to the physician at that time, so endangers the life of the pregnant woman or poses a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate performance or inducement of an abortion.

Whoever violates this provision would be guilty of a felony—punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The person who determines the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat would be required to record in the pregnant persons medical record the estimated gestational age of the fetus, the method used to test for a fetal heartbeat, the date and time of the test, and the results of the test.

If an abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency, the physician would be required to record the medical condition in the patient’s records.

Heartbeat Detection Informed Consent

Except in cases of medical emergency, a person who detects a fetal heartbeat may not perform an abortion without first informing the pregnant patient at least 24 hours prior to the procedure that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.

The pregnant patient must sign a form acknowledging that they have received information from the person intending to perform or induce the abortion that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that they are aware of the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.

Heartbeat Abortion Ban

The bill prohibits a person from performing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

This does not apply when an abortion is necessary in cases of life endangerment or serious risk of irreversible impairment of the pregnant person.

In the case that a medical procedure is necessary to prevent serious injury or death of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to make a note of such condition in the patient’s record. If the reason for the abortion is to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to specify in a written document the medical condition and rationale for the person’s conclusion that the abortion is necessary.

Whoever violates this provision would be guilty of a felony—punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The bill provides that a pregnant person on whom an abortion is performed may not be found guilty for violating, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or complicity in committing a violation of any of the above provisions.


Related Legislation

Similar to HB 2903 and HB 2915.


Latest Action

2/14/19 – Introduced; referred to Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.


People