(Charleston – January 9, 2014)  The session began on Wednesday and already by Thursday the sparks were flying in the House Chamber as the leadership of the House worked to consolidate power, and limit the ability of the Republicans to advance legislation, through procedural moves. On a party line vote, the House passed a rule which will now allow two legislative calendars to be in place from the start of the session. One is an active calendar where bills, which are advancing are placed, and the other is an inactive calendar where bills are placed which are not to be advanced. The power to move bills will be vested in the Rules Committee. The members of the Rules Committee (made up of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans) will place every bill on one of the two calendars. It will now be much easier for leadership to kill a bill from the start of the session as well as hinder procedural moves such as a Motion to Discharge a Committee.

Bills are referred to appropriate Committees, where actions can be taken on them. The Motion to Discharge a Committee enables a bill to be taken from the committee and brought to the Floor of the House for an immediate vote by the entire body. The Discharge Petition, as it is also called, only requires a majority vote, or 51 votes in the case of the House to be successful; but now that a bill can be placed on the inactive calendar by the rules committee, it will take no less than 67 votes to successfully Discharge the Committee and enable the entire body to advance the legislation.

Any impartial observer would have to wonder if the House leadership had the Abortion Opt-Out bill in mind when they passed today’s rule change. After all, the Health Care Exchange is beginning to administer insurance policies, and there is an immediate need for action. It would be reasonable to expect that WVFL would seek to expedite the passage of the Abortion Opt-Out bill through the use of the Discharge Petition.

Please remain vigilant!

Your help will be needed in the days ahead now that the Regular Session has begun. Please help others to know who their legislators are, and how they stand on the Abortion Opt-Out issue. We have included a list of supporters below.

Working at the State Capitol, I will keep you informed through email and social media so you will be able to respond when calls are especially needed. I am looking forward to how the conversation unfolds in the days ahead as legislators respond to their constituents.

Please plan to attend the Pro-Life Rally on February 11th under the dome at the State Capitol.

Progress made even before the session begins!

As we approach the start of the 2014 Regular Session, West Virginians for Life is working to protect West Virginians from paying for abortion in the new health care exchange, established by ObamaCare. We can be thankful for the 72 state legislators who have registered their support for the Abortion Opt-Out legislation, which will be introduced this session. This support includes every Republican Delegate and enough Pro-Life Democrats in the House to demonstrate that a majority of legislators (62) support passage in that body. By signing the Opt-Out questionnaire these legislators have enabled our efforts to advance before the session has even begun! Check the list below to see who has registered their support.

A new understanding of where we stand as a pro-life state

The rejection of the Opt-Out bill by the WV Senate leadership in 2013 was an eye opener for many in the West Virginia pro-life movement. After all, the Abortion Opt-Out has already been passed by 24 state legislatures. It appeared that nearly every member of the committees to which it was assigned, supported it. In addition it was a bill that had a deadline. Unfortunately, this was a deadline that was missed and, so now, the Health Care Exchange opened in 2014 without the guarantee that taxpayer funds would not pay for abortions.

While there have been significant pro-life victories in the past in West Virginia, and while much of the nation has increasingly supported placing restrictions on abortion, West Virginia has not.

Consider the following

West Virginia is numbered among only fourteen states which have no restrictions on public funding of abortion in any form within their state during all nine months of pregnancy. In fact Maine, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – states which belong to a part of the country which is considered more liberal politically – all restrict the funding of abortion in some way. Some restrict funding except in the case of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

For too long the abortion laws of West Virginia have reflected the citizenry of a state like Massachusetts or New York and not Mountaineers. In fact, it has been three years since the West Virginia State Legislature has advanced pro-life legislation to the Governor’s desk for his signature. In reflecting on these facts, and recognizing that West Virginians are overwhelmingly pro-life, it has become apparent that new policies are needed in response to the lack of support from state leadership. To not make changes means that each year we will keep falling farther behind as we work to defend those who cannot speak for themselves.

Changes for the 2014 legislative session

  • WVFL will continue to be respectful in our communications to legislators, and, while we still support the committee process, we will not hesitate to encourage the discharging of legislation in cases where it is apparent that legislation has been properly vetted by legislators and when it is apparent that a majority of members support it. The Opt-Out legislation falls into this category. This well established legislative procedure will allow all the members to vote on the floor of their respective chamber.
  • While the Abortion Opt-Out is a top priority for this legislative session, we will also support the passage of other pro-life legislation, in the form of amendments and legislative bills.
  • In addition, WVFL will be scoring more votes to determine a legislator’s pro-life rating, and we will score actions taken by leadership that prevented the advancement of pro-life legislation.

Our message has not changed

We will continue to call on the legislature to publicly express their support for the Abortion Opt-Out and to assert that abortion is not health care but the taking of an innocent life. We will continue to spread the message that West Virginia is not Massachusetts nor is it California or New Jersey, and that West Virginians are pro-life and do not want to fund the killing of innocent unborn children. We will continue to assert that abortion is not health care. Abortion only kills and should not be part of our publicly funded health care system. We call on you to stand with us in these efforts and hold our representatives accountable for their position during the legislative session which began on January 8th.

The time is coming soon when thousands will need to take a stand for life, a stand which must be heard in every region of the state and every committee room of the State Capitol. Let’s make the 2014 Regular Session a turning point in our state’s history – a time when it will be remembered that pro-life public policy began to reflect the values of those who are proud to be called West Virginians!

List of Legislators in Support of the Opt-Out!

Below is a list of those West Virginia State Legislators who have signed the WVFL questionnaire indicating they support the Abortion Opt-Out Legislation. If your representative(s) are on this list, please call and thank them for their support. If they are not on this list, call and let them know that you want them to support the Opt-Out Legislation. This list is also available as a pdf document.

Senate Members Contact Info
House Members Contact Info

Name Party District Counties
Ambler, Delegate George Rep HD 42 Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Anderson, Delegate Bill Rep HD 8 Wood
Andes, Delegate Troy Rep HD 15 Putnam
Armstead, Delegate Tim Rep HD 40 Kanawha
Arvon, Delegate Karen “Lynne” Rep HD 31 Raleigh, Wyoming
Ashley, Delegate Bob Rep HD 11 Jackson, Roane
Azinger, Delegate Tom Rep HD 10 Wood
Barker, Delegate Josh Dem HD 22 Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam
Boley, Senator Donna Rep SD 3 Pleasants, Roane, Wirt,  Wood
Border, Delegate Anna Rep HD 9 Wirt, Wood
Butler, Delegate Jim Rep HD 14 Mason, Putnam
Cadle, Delegate Scott Rep HD 13 Jackson, Mason, Putnam
Campbell, Delegate Denise Dem HD 43 Pocahontas, Randolph
Cann, Senator Sam Dem SD 12 Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis
Canterbury, Delegate Ray Rep HD 42 Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers
Cooper, Delegate Roy Rep HD 28 Monroe, Raleigh, Summers
Cowles, Delegate Daryl Rep HD 58 Hampshire, Morgan
Eldridge, Delegate Jeff Dem HD 22 Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam
Ellem, Delegate John Rep HD 10 Wood
Ellington, Delegate Joe Rep HD 27 Mercer, Raleigh
Espinosa, Delegate Paul Rep HD 66 Jefferson
Evans, Delegate Allen Rep HD 54 Grant, Mineral, Pendleton
Evans, Delegate David Rep HD 4 Marshall, Ohio
Faircloth, Delegate Larry Rep HD 60 Berkeley
Ferns, Delegate Ryan Rep HD 3 Ohio
Fitzsimmons, Senator Rocky Dem SD 1 Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio
Folk, Delegate Michael Rep HD 63 Berkeley
Frich, Delegate Cindy Rep HD 51 Monongalia
Gearheart, Delegate Marty Rep HD 27 Mercer, Raleigh
Green, Senator Mike Dem SD 9 McDowell, Raleigh, Wyoming
Hall, Senator Daniel Dem SD 9 McDowell, Raleigh, Wyoming
Hall, Senator Mike Rep SD 4 Jackson, Mason, Putnam, Roane
Hamilton, Delegate Bill Rep HD 45 Upshur
Hamrick, Delegate Danny Rep HD 48 Harrison, Taylor
Hartman, Delegate William Dem HD 43 Pocahontas, Randolph
Householder, Delegate Eric Rep HD 64 Berkeley
Howell, Delegate Gary Rep HD 56 Mineral
Ireland, Delegate Woody Rep HD 7 Pleasants, Ritchie
Kump, Delegate Larry Rep HD 59 Berkeley, Morgan
Lane, Delegate Patrick Rep HD 38 Kanawha, Putnam
Lynch, Delegate David Dem HD44 Nicholas, Randolph, Upshur, Webster
McCuskey, Delegate John Rep HD 35 Kanawha
Miller, Delegate Carol Rep HD 16 Cabell, Lincoln
Moye, Delegate Ricky Dem HD 29 Raleigh
Nelson, Delegate Eric Rep HD 35 Kanawha
Nelson, Delegate Joshua Rep HD 23 Boone
Nohe, Senator David Rep SD 3 Pleasants, Roane, Wirt,  Wood
O’Neal, Delegate John Rep HD 28 Monroe, Raleigh, Summers
Overington, Delegate John Rep HD 62 Berkeley
Pasdon, Delegate Amanda Rep HD 51 Monongalia
Perry, Delegate David Dem HD 32 Clay, Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh
Raines, Delegate Suzette Rep HD 35 Kanawha
Reynolds, Delegate Doug Dem HD 17 Cabell, Wayne
Romine, Delegate Wm. Roger Rep HD 6 Doddridge, Pleasants, Tyler
Rowan, Delegate Ruth Rep HD 57 Hampshire, Mineral
Shott, Delegate John Rep HD 27 Mercer, Raleigh
Skaff, Delegate Doug Dem HD 35 Kanawha
Smith, Delegate Peggy Donaldson Dem HD 46 Lewis, Upshur
Smith, Delegate Randy Rep HD 53 Preston, Tucker
Sobonya, Delegate Kelli Rep HD 18 Cabell
Stephens, Delegate Dale Dem HD 17 Cabell, Wayne
Storch, Delegate Erikka Rep HD 3 Ohio
Sumner, Delegate Linda Rep HD 30 Raleigh
Sypolt, Senator Dave Rep SD 14 Barb, Gra, Hard, Min, Mon, Pres, Tayl, Tuck
Tomblin, Delegate Ted Dem HD 24 Boone, Logan, Wyoming
Unger, Senator John Dem SD 16 Berkeley, Jefferson
Walker, Delegate David Dem HD 33 Calhoun, Clay,  Gilmer
Walters, Senator Chris Rep SD 8 Kanawha, Putnam
Walters, Delegate Ron Rep HD 39 Kanawha
Westfall, Delegate Steve Rep HD 12 Jackson
Williams, Delegate Larry Dem HD 52 Preston
Young, Delegate Adam Dem HD 41 Greenbrier, Nicholas