John Carey

John Carey
WVFL Legislative Coordinator

West Virginians for Life Rebuts Misgivings of State Leadership

re: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Special Session/Veto Override


Despite the unrelenting opposition by the Speaker of the House to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the fact that the Speaker and his leadership team control the agenda, West Virginians for Life (WVFL) will continue to work for the creation of a special session for the purpose of advancing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.


All of the Republicans in the House and the Senate have signed the Special Session Petition, and Democrat Senators are enthusiastically in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. While in the House, a Democrat pro-abortion minority remains in control and continues to oppose the special session petition drive and continues to disparage the Fetal Pain bill as unconstitutional.

The reason that West Virginians for Life is seeking the passage of fetal pain legislation through a special session, is not as House Speaker Miley asserts, that WVFL is disappointed that its legislation was vetoed, but because science has clearly demonstrated that the unborn child feels pain at 20 weeks and we believe that state legislators have an obligation to act on behalf of the unborn child on this basis. More than 80 percent of the legislators indicated that they agreed with this assessment as well. In light of this and the fact that the Governor’s reasons for a veto were based on court action as it related to a law that was not similar to HB 4588, WVFL is convinced it has an obligation to act in support of an effort by the legislature to encourage the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

While West Virginians for Life has encouraged the passage of legislation over the years which reduces the number of abortions and seeks to protect the unborn as well as the mother from harm, there has not been any legislation supported in West Virginia by either Speaker Miley or Governor Tomblin which actually restricts when an abortion can occur. As a result of this inaction, West Virginia is one of only nine states which do not restrict abortion all nine months of pregnancy. In fact, West Virginia not only does not restrict when an unborn child’s life can be taken, but West Virginia is only one of a handful of states that pays for abortions with taxpayer dollars. The abortion industry is clearly well established in a state that is considered to be pro-life.

The solution that the Speaker and the Governor, as well as legislators in the House and the Senate who clearly support no limits on abortion all nine months of pregnancy, is to pass a 24-week bill based on viability. A viability-based bill is very popular with the pro-abortion minority of the state legislature who does not want any limits on abortion.

We have learned a great deal since 1973 about the unborn child. We now know that the unborn child can feel pain at the point of development addressed in the bill. We want WV to come into the 21st Century and protect pain-capable unborn children from death by abortion.

A viability bill based on Roe v. Wade does not limit when an abortion will take place. Under Roe v. Wade the abortionist determines whether a mother’s mental health is affected by carrying a baby all nine months of pregnancy. This is why Nebraska’s 24-week viability bill did not prevent late-term abortion doctor Carhart from practicing his craft freely. It was only when a 20-week bill based on fetal pain was passed by the state legislature that Carhart was forced to leave the state. He chose to move to Maryland which has a 24-week law based on viability on the books, the same kind of law that the Governor and the Speaker want passed in West Virginia.

Claiming that a special session would be too expensive, House Speaker Miley’s statements ignore the fact that the special session for fetal pain could be held while the legislators are already in town during an interim and that they could recess, go home, and after the Governor again vetoes the fetal pain bill as he has recently promised, go back into session during the next interim and override the Governor’s veto. The only reason that a special session would become expensive is if the leadership of the House dragged out the passage of legislation by empowering the pro-abortion minority.

“It is unfortunate,” says WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey, “that the Speaker does not think that the passage of legislation to protect the unborn child is important enough to place on the agenda of a special session. In contrast he does believe that mechanics lien legislation, or improving boat dock and marine safety, or authorizing the transfer of money to the Courtesy Patrol Fund, is important enough and chose to take the time and finances to act on this legislation during the most recent special session.”

Carey said, “The people of West Virginia are overwhelmingly pro-life. It is time that the state legislature took action to ensure that these pro-life values are reflected in the laws of the Mountain State.”

Click here for the Press Release in pdf.