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Pro-Life Rally Day: Pro-Life Action at Both Ends of the Life Span

by | Feb 20, 2024

By Alicia Martin, West Virginians for Life Program Director

WVFL President Wanda Franz presents Women’s Right to Know petitions to Senate President Craig Blair.  Looking on is WVFL Political Director Sadie Keaton with daughter, Margaret.

Supporters of West Virginians for Life (WVFL) gathered at the Capitol on Thursday, February 8, for the annual Pro-Life Rally Day.  The main event was a rally at noon in the lower rotunda. Rev. Donald Higgs from the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston, gave the invocation.

The Rally emphasized the key pieces of pro-life legislation supported by WVFL.  A “Woman’s Right to Know” bill (SB 352) would aid the small percentage of women who qualify for abortion exceptions, by requiring that they be informed about the risks of, and alternatives to, abortion. 

It would also educate patients regarding abortion pill reversal  and provide information about disabilities (including support networks) for parents when they are told that their unborn child has special needs.

The second piece of legislation supported by WVFL is the “Protection from Medically-Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia in West Virginia” Constitutional Amendment (HJR 28).  This amendment would add language to the West Virginia State Constitution to protect all West Virginians from assisted suicide and euthanasia. 

If HJR 28 passes both houses of the legislature by a two-thirds vote, then it will be added to the 2024 general election ballot as Amendment 1, for a vote by the people of the state.

The “Women’s Right to Know” bill was scheduled for discussion in a Senate Health and Human Resources Committee. The support and encouragement of Rally participants contributed to SB 352 quickly passing out of committee.

Legislative Director Sadie Keaton said: “I am so proud of the pro-lifers, who came out in support of our legislation. They helped to move our bill out of Committee and onto the Senate Floor.”

Rally Attendees in the Lower Rotunda of the Capitol

In addition to emphasizing legislation, the Rally also highlighted threats to mothers and babies in West Virginia.  Perhaps foremost among these is the new abortion facility just across the border in Cumberland, Maryland.  West Virginia women are being referred there, despite known risks. 

Not only do Maryland laws fail to provide informed consent, they make it incredibly difficult for injured out-of-state women to obtain legal recourse.  Moreover, it is very likely that West Virginia women are being sent home with abortion pills, where they will deliver their dead babies without benefit of medical supervision.

“If research from Canada is applicable here, women will experience extreme pain, excessive bleeding, and 10% of them will end up in a WV hospital,” commented Wanda Franz, President of WVFL.

Emcee WVFL Legislative Director Sadie Keaton introduced several guests, including State Treasurer Riley Moore, Agricultural Commissioner Kent Leonhardt, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.  Senate President Craig Blair also spoke and accepted the petitions that had been gathered in support of the Women’s Right to Know bill.

The audience appreciated the encouragement of Karen Cross, who spent decades in the service of WVFL, and currently serves as Political Liaison on the WVFL Board of Directors. 

Teens for Life President Thomas Dinkel closed the main event in the rotunda with a rousing exhortation to keep legislators accountable. He echoed the overall Rally reminder that continued vigilance is imperative, because pro-abortion forces are seeking to overturn the protections that West Virginia currently provides for mothers and babies.

Pastor Tom Price, of Roxalana Gospel Tabernacle in Dunbar, pronounced a benediction, and the day’s events concluded with the annual Prayer Procession.  This silent walk through the halls of the Capitol is in remembrance of the millions who have died.  But it was also a time of thanksgiving, because West Virginia now has strong protections for mothers and babies.

Categories: Pro-Lifers