West Virginia Heartbeat Abortion Ban and Fetal Tissue Transfer Ban (HB 2915)
This law was last updated on May 28, 2019
HB 2915 would restrict the performance of certain abortions and acquiring, providing, receiving, otherwise transferring, or using fetal body parts.
The bill would redefine “medical emergency” to mean:
[…]a situation in which an abortion is performed to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, but not including psychological conditions, emotional conditions, familial conditions, or the woman’s age; or when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.
The bill would prohibit a person from acquiring, providing, receiving, otherwise transferring, or using fetal body parts.
This would not apply to:
- Diagnostic or remedial tests, procedures, or observations which have the sole purpose of determining the life or health of the fetus;
- Actions taken in regards to the final disposition of a fetal body part;
- Pathological studies; or
- Fetal tissue resulting from a miscarriage that was willingly donated.
A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Heartbeat Abortion Ban
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 or when the abortion is medically necessary.
The bill defines “medically necessary” to mean:
- The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest (that must be reported to law enforcement);
- A miscarriage, if not all of the products of conception are expelled;
- A fetal abnormality that is incompatible with life.
The bill would allow the state Board of Medicine to develop rules specifying the appropriate tests to be used in determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat based on standard medical practice.
Following the testing of the pregnant person for a detectable fetal heartbeat, the physician would need to inform the pregnant person, in writing whether a fetal heartbeat was detected; and if it was, that an abortion is prohibited.
A physician may not perform an abortion upon a pregnant person when it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable fetal heartbeat, unless a medical emergency exists, or when the abortion is medically necessary.
If the fetus is 20 or more weeks along and has a detectable heartbeat, the physician would be prohibited from performing a abortion unless there is a medical emergency or the removal of the fetus is necessary to preserve its life.
2/8/19 – Introduced; referred to House Health & Human Resources Committee.