2014 Capitol Update – Day Thirty-Six – 48 Democrats Kill “Pro-Life” Motion


Capitol Update 6 Screenshot

A good Macedonian woman once said, “If a mother can kill her own child – what’s left for me to kill you and you to kill me? – There’s nothing between.” That woman’s Albanian name was Agness Gonxha Bojaxhiu, we know her better as Mother Teresa.

The Family Policy Council also believes that to defend an industry based on the killing of unborn babies is the most tragic evidence of the decay of our American culture. Even if we didn’t have a theological problem with abortion, what a morbid, icky thing for the National and State Democratic parties to hang their hat on and to raise money for and use as a “positive” during campaigns for political office in West Virginia.

But because abortion advocacy is loaded with political firepower and certainly impacts elections, conservatives, Christians, pro-life Republicans and true pro-life Democrats have no choice but to take a political stand on this issue. And stand they did last Tuesday. House Delegates on both sides of the issue declared whether they were truly pro-life or pro-abortion or just politicians playing both sides for votes in the next election cycle. There were several disappointing surprises.

It was Pro-Life Day at the capitol with a rally organized by West Virginian’s for Life, a conservative ally of the Policy Council. Several hundred voters packed the galleries wearing pro-life shirts and holding signs. Passionate defenders of life traveled to Charleston to demonstrate to the Legislature that West Virginia’s voters overwhelmingly want to see laws restricting abortion. And where it’s not yet restricted we need a law making abortion facilities adhere to the same regulations of any medical clinic.

The day’s House session was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. where the pro-life supporters planned to fill the galleries as a show of voting strength. But a suspiciously timed caucus by the Democratic leadership delayed the start for almost an hour. The pro-life rally where Republican State Attorney General, Patrick Morrissey was scheduled to speak was planned for noon downstairs in the rotunda. So the suspicious delay looked to some to be an effort by the Democrats to cause a scheduling conflict for the pro-life patrons so their presence in the galleries would not be an influence. But John Carey, long-time lobbyist for West Virginians for Life quickly reshuffled hundreds of people up to the House galleries for what turned out to be the most exciting day of politics in decades for the pro-life movement.

House Bill 2364 titled The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Currently a child in West Virginia can be terminated as long as his/her little feet haven’t cleared the birth canal. HB 2364 is sponsored by six delegates; five Democrats and one Republican, all who campaign as pro-life. The bill had been stalled over in the House Judiciary Committee since the beginning of the session.

But yesterday, with a packed, supportive gallery, Republican Minority Leader Tim Armstead made a motion from the floor to go ahead and have The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act discharged from the committee so the whole House of Delegates could vote on it. The motion on the bill needed 49 votes. There were 46 Republicans and 50 Democrats present. When the votes were counted the motion failed in a 48-48 tie. Minority Leader Armistead then addressed the floor and said he looked forward to passing this bill in the future to thunderous applause in the gallery.

All 46 Republicans present voted for the pro-life motion but only two Democrats defied their leadership, crossed over in a bi-partisan effort and voted to protect the lives of the unborn. The bill needed only one more “pro-life” Democrat to pass. I mentioned earlier that there were disappointing surprises and here are some.

Democrat Delegate Doug Skaff running for the state Senate seat in District 17 was a featured speaker at last years pro-life rally at the capitol but he voted NO to kill the pro-life motion Tuesday. Delegate Brent Boggs from District 34 voted NO to kill the pro-life motion then walked downstairs took the podium at the pro-life rally and touted himself as having a 100% pro-life voting record. Since then Twitter and Facebook have been on fire with criticism towards his disparity. And perhaps the biggest disappointment…all five of the Democrat Delegates who sponsored the Unborn Child Protection Act voted against their own bill striking down the motion for life. Democrat Delegate Peggy Smith from District 46 was both a sponsor of the pro-life rally Tuesday and a sponsor of the Pain-Capable bill. She also voted NO to kill the pro-life motion on her own bill. The other four Democrat sponsors [Perry (District 32), Pino (District 32), Reynolds (District 17), Skaff (District 35)] of HB2364 that also voted to NO and killed the pro-life motion on their own bill.

(We’ve provided the entire roll-call vote below.)

HB 2364

Why would they do such a thing? Well… running as a pro-life candidate is popular in West Virginia but actually voting pro-life as a Democrat gets you in trouble with Planned Parenthood. They donate a lot of campaign money to Democratic candidates.

Matthew 6:24 says, you cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Here’s another possible reason for the bill’s sponsors voting to kill the pro-life motion that would have moved their own bill forward. Delegate Reynolds from District 17 replied to a post on his Twitter page:

Reynolds Twitter

So what Reynolds is saying in that post is that supposedly the bill WILL be passed later in the session. Well that’s certainly news to the Family Policy Council and West Virginians for Life as well as to any other pro-life lobbyists backing this legislation. It also appears that Delegate Reynolds is saying that if and when the bill passes then it’s the Democrats that deserve the credit.

God the Father and the creator of all good things is the only one who deserves the credit for law’s protecting faith, family and freedom and they should never be used by any person of faith either Republican or Democrat as a political garment.

So I can’t help but point out with incredulity that being pro-life for some of West Virginia’s seated delegates have devolved into nothing more than some sort of political medal to be won and worn during a campaign stop this summer.  The lives of West Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens have been reduced to a sash draped across the eveningwear of the 2014 political pageant contestants.

We’ve already seen direct messages, Twitter and Facebook posts from some of the delegates that struck down the pro-life motion attempting to defend their votes by pretending they only killed a procedural motion to advance a pro-life bill, they didn’t vote NO on the “actual” bill. The pro-life citizens that filled the capitol Tuesday and fill the majority of the polling booths in West Virginia are smarter than that.

Skaff Twitter

That argument is akin to getting caught in a dalliance and when your spouse accuses, “I can’t believe you’d cheat on me with poor character like that.” And your only reply is “There’s no proof that she has poor character.”

Delegates not bothering to dispute what they did but instead only arguing that what they did really isn’t as it seems…well that’s the kind of misleading statement that changes the outcome of elections.

This is exactly the kind of disingenuous political gamesmanship that causes the average citizen to despise politicians and politics in general. This sort of believe-me-I-really-am-pro-life-even-if-I-don’t-vote-that-way doubletalk, negatively impacts the faith community and The Family Policy Council does our best to inform you so you’re able to vote accordingly. Our primary elections are May 13th and on that day you’ll get to help decide the laws that will and won’t govern your family.



The Family Policy Council faithfully influences West Virginia’s laws, lawmakers and state elections to defend the constitutional right of religious freedom for families and churches. Family Policy Council of West Virginia is affiliated with Focus on the Family and CitizenLink.