H. B. 2331
[Introduced February 14, 2005; referred to the
Committee on Health and Human Resources then the Judiciary.]
(By Delegates Ennis, Cann, Frich, Perry, Trump, Stemple and
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-30, to read as
ARTICLE 2. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON.
A BILL to amend the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-30, relating to
establishing the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act"; recognizing
a fetus as a person for purposes of being a victim of certain
crimes of violence against the person; specifying penalties;
providing definitions and exceptions; certain convictions not
barred; and severability.
§61-2-30. Recognizing an embryo or fetus as a distinct unborn
victim of certain crimes of violence against the
(a) This section may be known and cited as the "Unborn Victims
of Violence Act".
(b) For the purposes of this article, the following
definitions shall apply: Provided, That these definitions only
apply for purposes of prosecution of unlawful acts under this
section and may not otherwise be used: (1) To create or to imply
that a civil cause of action exists; or (2) for purposes of
argument in a civil cause of action, unless there has been a
criminal conviction under this section.
(1) "Embryo" means the developing human in its early stages.
The embryonic period commences at fertilization and continues to
the end of the embryonic period and the beginning of the fetal
period, which occurs eight weeks after fertilization, or ten weeks
after the onset of the last menstrual period.
(2) "Fetus" means a developing human that has ended the
embryonic period and thereafter continues to develop and mature
until termination of the pregnancy or birth.
(c) For purposes of enforcing the provisions of sections one,
four and seven of this article, subsections (a) and (c), section
nine of said article, sections ten and ten-b of said article and
subsection (a), section twenty-eight of said article, a pregnant
woman and the embryo or fetus she is carrying in the womb
constitute separate and distinct victims.
(d) Exceptions. -- The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(1) Acts committed during a legal abortion to which the
pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf,
consented or for which the consent is implied by law;
(2) Acts or omissions by medical or health care personnel
during or as a result of medical or health-related treatment or
services, including, but not limited to, medical care, abortion,
diagnostic testing, or fertility treatment;
(3) Acts or omissions by medical or health care personnel or
scientific research personnel in performing lawful procedures
involving embryos that are not in a stage of gestation in utero;
(4) Acts involving the use of force in lawful defense of self
or another, but not an embryo or fetus; and
(5) Acts or omissions of a pregnant woman with respect to the
embryo or fetus she is carrying.
(e) For purposes of the enforcement of the provisions of this
section, a violation of the provisions of article two-i, chapter
sixteen of this code shall not serve as a waiver of the protection
afforded by the provisions of subdivision (1), subsection (d) of
(f) Other convictions not barred. -- A prosecution for or
conviction under this section is not a bar to conviction of or
punishment for any other crime committed by the defendant arising
from the same incident.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "Unborn
Victims of Violence Act" to create a separate criminal cause of
action for crimes of violence where a pregnant woman is carrying an
is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.