Following 2½ hours of debate, the West Virginia legislature Wednesday took a huge step forward 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.
When the morning session convened, the House galleries were packed with pro-life supporters who had come to the Charleston Capitol for the Annual Pro-Life Rally Day.
After introductions from several delegates of their pro-life constituents, House Speaker Tim Armstead got down to business.
Lead sponsor Delegate Kelli Sobonya ended her floor speech with a familiar “Choose life…” scripture from Deuteronomy 30:19. Cosponsor Delegate Jeff Eldridge tearfully thanked his wife for choosing life for his children.
When a pro-abortion female delegate previously stated that she was speaking for the majority of women in West Virginia and in the country, 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. In fact, 17 of 19 female delegates supported H.B. 2568.
West Virginians for Life (WVFL) now turns its attention to the Senate as the bill will head to the Senate Health Committee and then to the Judiciary Committee.
“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,” said WVFL President Dr. Wanda Franz said. “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.”
“Ten states have already passed this legislation,” said WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey. “Litigation is pending in two states, and we are awaiting the outcome.”