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Senate passes bill requiring students to view ‘Baby Olivia’ video depicting fetus

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Senate passes bill requiring students to view ‘Baby Olivia’ video depicting fetus

Feb 27, 2024 | 6:23 pm ET
By Amelia Ferrell Knisely
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Senate passes bill requiring students to view ‘Baby Olivia’ video depicting fetus
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Senate President Craig Blair, in a rare move, verbally supported Senate Bill 468, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Will Price | West Virginia Legislative Photography)

State Senators voted to require eighth and 10th grade public school students to view a video, named “Meet Baby Olivia,” which depicts in high-definition insemination and the stages of a baby’s development in the womb.

The video is sponsored by anti-abortion activist group LiveAction. The material is free to be used for educational purposes and will be included in public schools’ human development class. 

Senate Bill 468 passed with a 27-6 vote on Tuesday and will now head to the House of Delegates for consideration. 

Senate President Craig Blair, in a rare move, verbally supported the bill, saying it wasn’t a political bill. “I’m going to vote proudly for this,” he said.

The measure was a “pro-life bill,” according to Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Randolph. “This bill is going to cause fewer people to make a choice for abortion because they’re going to realize what they’re carrying looks like a little baby. This bill is going to save lives.”

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, explained that the bill was not religious-based and was intended to help students make informed decisions. 

“This was definitely based on research by scientists who are not on any side of the issue,” she said. “It is a springboard for conversation. It does not replace the human development textbook. It’s a beautiful thing to know.”

During bill debate, Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, who is a doctor, urged rejection of the bill due to concerns regarding “discrepancies in the video that are grossly inaccurate.” He noted previous efforts in the Senate to remove requirements for the specific video and specific provider. 

All three Democrats in the Senate voted against the measure.

Sen. Mike Woelfel said that he believed that life begins at conception but questioned if schools should enforce “a sincerely held religious belief” onto students who may not hold the same views.

“What about the Jewish children who have a belief that life begins at birth?” he questioned. 

Grady said she did not see any constitutional concerns with the legislation as school textbooks already state that life begins at conception.