The West Virginia legislature took a huge step forward today (February 11, 2015) as the House of Delegates voted 87-12 to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.B. 2568, a bill fully supported by West Virginians for Life (WVFL). The bi-partisan bill passed with two-thirds of the Democrats voting for it. (Since February 11, Delegate Ron Walters, who was absent at the time the vote came down, registered his YES vote making the final tally 88-12.)
When the morning session convened, the House galleries were packed with pro-life supporters who had come to the Charleston Capitol for Annual Pro-Life Rally Day. After introductions from several delegates of their pro-life constituents, House Speaker Tim Armstead got down to business.
For roughly 2½ hours delegates either spoke for or against the bill.
Lead sponsor Delegate Kelli Sobonya ended her floor speech with a familiar “Choose life…” scripture from Deuteronomy. Cosponsor Delegate Jeff Eldridge tearfully thanked his wife for choosing life for his children and newcomer Delegate Saira Blair, herself a teenager at 18 and a bill cosponsor, pointed out that the majority of women in that chamber supported the bill after a pro-abortion female delegate previously stated that she was speaking for the majority of women in West Virginia and in the country. Support from women delegates turned out to be 17 of 19.
West Virginians for Life now turns to the Senate as the bill will head to the Senate Health Committee and then to Judiciary.
WVFL President Dr. Wanda Franz said, “Since scientific evidence shows that babies suffer pain from beginning at least by 20 weeks gestation, we believe West Virginians would want to protect babies from the pain of abortion. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would provide that protection.”
Franz emceed the rally after the vote and the couple hundred supporters who stayed enjoyed every minute from the invocation given by Bishop Michael Bransfield to the teen essays read by the essay contest winners to the remarks by pro-life lawmakers at the microphone to the final strains of Frank Tettenburn’s “God Bless America.”
WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey said, “Ten states have already passed this legislation. It has not been found to be unconstitutional. I am confident the Senate will do the right thing.”
To read the Press Release in pdf format, click here.