by John Carey, WVFL Legislative Coordinator



(Charleston – February 24, 2014)  The lobbying effort of West Virginians for Life (WVFL), since January of 2013, has been defined by a plea for someone in the legislature to come forward and lead the pro-life cause. This call for leadership was repeatedly expressed not only to the Governor through his staff but in private and public means to every member of the state legislature. This plea was expressed on behalf of WVFL by the WV Catholic Diocese, as well as the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists.  As it became apparent that these pleas were going unanswered, WVFL explained to legislators that, to be truly prolife, means they must demonstrate their convictions by taking legislative action.

Legislators were given the facts that West Virginia is one of only nine states, which allows babies to be aborted all nine months of pregnancy, and one of only six statPain_babyes that use taxpayer funds to abort babies all nine months. We were calling for action on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which protects babies from abortion when medical science says they can feel pain after 20 weeks.

It became apparent that the leadership was not going to advance our legislation through the normal committee process, so we began expressing our support for discharging the committee so that legislation could be brought to the floor for a vote and advanced. We believe that both Democrats and Republicans in West Virginia support pro-life legislation. Thus, if the survival of our legislation could be taken out of the hands of the Democratic Leadership, the vast majority of members would support it.

On February 11, during the Pro-Life rally, Minority Leader of the House Tim Armstead seized the opportunity to stand for life.  He led by calling for the discharging of the committee so that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act could come to the floor for a vote. In the presence of the nearly 300 pro-life supporters filling the galleries, 46 republicans and 2 democrats stood for life by supporting the motion to discharge, while 48 Democrats voted, instead, to support their leadership, who had chosen to ignore our pleas for help. By a 48 to 48 tie vote, the motion to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was defeated.

Although the next day the Democratic Leadership chose to make a 180 degree course correction and moved to advance the Bill, we must not allow history to be rewritten. For the last three legislative sessions, WVFL had basically one simple question – “Who is willing to lead?” In the end it happened to be someone who did not belong to the party in power and one who did not control the committee agenda. And since this person was not in power, he chose to use the only means available to him to advance legislation—the motion to discharge the committee. It should never be forgotten that while Delegate Armstead, the leader of the Republican party chose to lead on February 11, this same opportunity had been available to the Democratic Leadership for the past three sessions.

As we now turn our attention to the State Senate we are still asking the same question of state legislators – “Who is willing to lead?” Who is willing to take a stand for life in the next two weeks and advance legislation, which will protect the unborn? Will it be the Republicans, or will the Democratic leadership step up and represent the pro-life convictions of West Virginians. In the end, ultimately it has to be asked, which is going to win, politics or the babies?

URGENT!!!!!  HB 4588 – The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is on Second Reading on Tuesday – This is the amendment stage. While we are hopeful that HB 4588 will gain passage on Wednesday, anti-life forces are actively contacting their legislators and calling for the defeat of HB 4588. We are also concerned that HB 4588 might be amended. Please look at this list and then contact your Delegate(s) and tell them:

Please support House Bill 4588, the Pain-Capable

Unborn Child Protection Act, without changes.