The group West Virginians for Life organization is taking steps to increase its influence at the legislature.
“This year we’ve hired a professional, someone who’s been here for a dozen years and knows the halls and knows the players and the routine and the procedures,” said West Virginians for Life President Wanda Franz.
The organization has hired its first full-time lobbyist to try to regain the ground that’s been lost in recent years.
“We just haven’t had the right people, the combination of people in place,” said Franz.
Even without a full-time lobbyist the group has has some success at the capitol including the 2010 passage of the Ultrasound Option Requirement.
Franz says the grassroots part of the organization is looking to do even more.
“We have our chapters and they are working out in the state educating the folks about the issue and they’re there witnessing for the babies and trying to keep the issue alive,” said Franz.
The lobbyist will also work at pushing and gaining support for a couple Pro-Life bills (HB 2364/SB 487) that are currently moving through the state House and Senate.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act recognizes that medical science demonstrates unborn children are capable of experiencing pain certainly by 20 weeks after fertilization. The Act protects pain-capable unborn children from being killed by abortion absence of significant risk to the mother.
“Now that people realize that we really are very serious about producing some legislation and have someone that’s working here, I think it helps draw people back in,” said Franz.
Franz is confident that the movement will continue to gain steam in this session all thanks to the volunteers that they have within the organization. She believes the Right-to-Life movement is the best expression of the democratic spirit.
“Where you have grassroots people who care about an issue enough to get out of their comfort zone and call up, email or come to a rally in order to have their voice heard,” said Franz. “Where it is serious enough where they become part of the process.”
Other pro-life successes in Charleston include:
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (1997)
Women’s Right to Know Law (2003)
Unborn Victims of Violence Act (2005)