“Pro-life” is a strange label to adopt for a Legislature that welcomes so much death. 

Legislative session after legislative session, I have listened to those in power under the gold dome call themselves “pro-life.” And yet, they’ve done much more to hasten people’s demise than prolong their lives. Recent talk of bringing back the death penalty is just the latest anti-life measure to be considered. 

In fact, 8,600 more West Virginians died than were born last year, wiping out the modest increase of people moving to the state and lowering the overall population by about 4,000, according to the census. 

West Virginia has repeatedly been called “Ground Zero” of the addiction and overdose epidemic. Most of us turn to medical experts when we face a health crisis. But not our “pro-life” Legislature. They did the exact opposite of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials and decades of research suggest would curb drug-related deaths — they outlawed lifesaving harm reduction methods like syringe exchange programs. 

Read the rest of this op-ed by ACLU-WV Interim Executive Director Eli Baumwell here.