West Virginians for Life (WVFL) is pleased to report that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, HB 4588, passed in the West Virginia Senate on the final day of the session, Saturday, March 8, by a vote of 29-5. The Senate approved an amended version of the bill, which had been passed earlier by the House of Delegates. The House had to concur with the Senate changes before final passage, 83-15.
On February 11, a Motion to Discharge the committee was brought by House Minority Leader, Delegate Tim Armstead, on the same day as the annual Pro-Life Rally & Day at the Legislature. While galleries full of pro-life constituents watched, the vote ended in a 48-48 loss.
Two Democrats crossed party lines to support the discharge of the bill: Delegates Rick Moye and Jeff Eldridge. However, the very next day, the bill was revived and eventually passed the House overwhelmingly by a 79-17 margin.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect West Virginia’s unborn babies, who can feel pain, and asserts a compelling state interest in protecting the unborn child from pain. Scientific research demonstrates that unborn babies can feel pain beginning by at least 20 weeks after conception. “It is important that West Virginia has asserted its legitimate concern for the well-being of these innocent babies by protecting them from pain,” said Wanda Franz, President of WVFL.
West Virginia will now join eight states where the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect without being challenged in the Courts. In two states, the law has been enjoined and challenged in state courts.