West Virginia House Panel Passes Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Karen Cross   |   Feb 18, 2014   |   4:10PM   |   Charleston, WV

Unborn babies who are capable of feeling pain won a great victory in the West Virginia House of Delegates today. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B. 4588) passed out of the House Health and Human Resources Committee without debate on February 17, 2014.

This legislation will protect West Virginia’s unborn babies who can feel pain from a gruesome death by dismemberment or other horrific late abortion techniques. Substantial medical evidence demonstrates the baby’s ability to feel pain is present by 20 weeks of life.

westvirginiaAfter being double-referenced to two committees in the House, The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B.4588 – formerly H.B.2364) was essentially dead in committee – just as in years past.

The bill experienced a revival on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, when a Motion to Discharge the committee reference was offered by House Minority Leader Tim Armstead while hundreds of pro-life West Virginians filled the House balconies to capacity. The motion failed 48-48.

The Discharge vote occurred during West Virginians for Life’s Pro-Life Rally while hundreds of pro-life West Virginians from across the state were at the state capitol lobbying for pro-life legislation.

“The leadership of the West Virginia House of Delegates failed to protect unborn babies from suffering excruciating pain during abortions here in the state of West Virginia,” West Virginians for Life told National Right to Life News following the vote.

Subsequently, on February 12, 2014, the Democrats convened a caucus where, according to The Charleston Gazette (see Statehouse Beat: Caucus Becomes Heated), “Tensions are running high in the House of Delegates, after a three-hour, knock-down, drag-out Democratic caucus Wednesday that was marked, we’re told, by yelling and screaming, and even delegates concerned that fisticuffs might break out.”

Why such a heated caucus? The Gazette continued, “A procedural vote on this year’s anti-abortion bill being championed by West Virginians for Life…”

It is clear that pro-life delegates have begun to press Democrat leadership in the House to put our legislation on the agenda. There are many strong pro-life Democrats, and it now appears that those Democrat legislators are determined to have their voices heard.

We know that pro-life legislation saves lives. We know that every year legislators don’t pass pro-life legislation means that precious little babies die.

The “revival” and passage of this important lifesaving legislation – the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – is not possible without the continued support, prayers and action by pro-life West Virginians from across the state.

The bill will be reported to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 18.



“It is urgent that pro-life West Virginians contact their personal delegate and ask them to support this lifesaving legislation,” said John Carey, West Virginians for Life Legislative Liaison.

For contact information for your delegate, go to: https://wvforlife.org/legislation/wv-delegates/.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has already passed in ten states, and in the U.S. House of Representatives.

LifeNews Note: Karen Cross is the political director for the National Right to Life Committee.