CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said the Legislature “must pass” the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and ban abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

“The fact is, at 20 weeks, they will feel the pain of the abortion,” said Bishop Michael Bransfield on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” in support of HB 4588.

“So why can’t we get a culture where it’s demanded, where we have no choice but to allow it (abortions), to at least do it in the most humane way possible and not to become somewhat barbaric by not caring what level of pain that fetus will feel?”

The bill does include an exception for the ban in cases of medical emergencies.

Critics have argued lawmakers should stay out of what is personal decision between a woman and her doctor.

But Bishop Bransfield said he thinks it’s appropriate for the Legislature to address the matter.

“The law is there to protect the innocent.  The Legislature must protect the innocent.  To me, after 20 weeks, you’re talking about a very innocent fetus, child inside the womb and it needs the protection of the law,” he said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

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  • rick

    Let's see here. A Catholic Bishop supporting an anti-abortion bill. Wow now there is some earch shaking news.

  • David

    I think the best way to resolve it is this:

    I hold a human embryo in a petri dish in one hand and, in the other hand, I hold a baby.

    You are responsible for deciding which I drop out a window.


    If you are truly unable to choose, then you equate a fertilized egg with an existing child. If, on the other hand, you choose that I drop the petri dish, you give more value to the existing child. If you choose that I drop the baby, congratulations. You're a fundamentalist.

    • C Donovan

      The Joker posed the same question in the recent Batman film. Interestingly, both the convict and the commuter exhibited moral insight and refused to blow up the other's ferryboat. You, on the other hand, would turn the detonator or drop the petri dish. Now make it two babies, one with Down Syndrome, the other a future Beyonce. Which would you drop, sir? This is why we best not play God - it isn't play, even if it amuses the Joker.

  • jay zoom

    abortion should be banned after day 1.

  • C. F. T.

    Thank you sir for taking an public stand, more leaders with an backbone are needed, and we the voters should abort (by exercising our right to vote) from public office those with liberal agenda.

  • Diocesan Communications Office

    Thanks to Hoppy for having Bishop Bransfield on the show today. Bishop Bransfield, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Roman Catholic Church agree that life begins at conception, and although we pray that abortion would not be an option in West Virginia, we agree that this bill is a good start to restoring the culture of life here in the Mountain State.

  • Michael

    If they won't pass this bill they might as well allow an abortion post birth. Becasue it is murder whether inside or outside the womb. How many children have been born in our state alone that were premies at 20 weeks that have lived? Tell me they aren't a person at inception, let alone 20 weeks, and I will call you crazy with every breath.

  • A Richard McGinnis

    In our current society where we are concerned about the humane treatment and welfare of animals it is unthinkable to consider the abortion a human fetus at any age of development, let alone post 20 weeks.


    I think the law should state "NO ABORTIONS AFTER 12 WEEKS".
    If one can be tried for murder, after killing a baby in side the mother, then whats the difference.
    Also, if a woman and her doctor cant decide within 12 weeks, then she should just have the baby.
    At any stage, it is a human.
    Its not a puppy or a kitten.

  • Michael

    It is disappointing that he fails to mention that after 20 weeks, a woman doesn't just "decide" to have an abortion. Those abortions are because something goes terribly wrong with the baby and the women have to choose how to end the pregnancy. The few cases per year that this happens and the women choose abortion is because a C-Section will weaken their already weak uterus and induced labor can cause hemorrhaging.

    This issue is so much more than any sound bite. When a woman gets to 20 weeks, she wants her baby. She is heartbroken and devastated and this bill will hurt her and the baby she loves but cannot have even more.

    • Kelley

      I agree. Many of the devastating congenital defects are diagnosed at or beyond 20 weeks. I do not agree with mothers aborting babies as a form of birth control. However, there are always extenuating circumstances. I would argue that babies born with severe birth defects suffer just as much or more pain.

  • Jonesy

    When will the libs allow the science of fetal development to show them the humanity of a pre-born?