CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says the question about the constitutionality of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will have to be addressed before he makes a decision on whether to sign into law the ban on abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy .

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40) said he thinks there should be no question.  “I do think it is constitutional.  This is practically the same bill the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed,” said Armstead of the state bill.

Armstead said he thinks there is a “compelling state interest” to put a limitation on a woman’s right to have an abortion, protected by Roe v. Wade, because of the pain an unborn child or fetus could be feeling at 20 weeks in development.

Senator Erik Wells (D-Kanawha, 8) disagreed about the constitutionality question.

On Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” he said changing the threshold in the bill from 20 weeks to viability or 24 weeks, an amendment that was offered and defeated in the state Senate, would have better addressed the issue.

“When a lawmaker takes an oath, they put their hand on a Bible to swear to uphold the Constitution.  They don’t put their hand on the Constitution to swear to uphold the Bible,” said Wells.

“We need to realize the Constitution should always be coming first.”

The bill, which was approved on the final day of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, does allow for exceptions for medical emergencies.  However, doctors who violated the ban could be charged with a misdemeanor crime and fined up to $4,000.

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  • Michael Armstead

    This bill is not based in any legitimate scientific understanding of fetal development, and two such laws have already been struck down by the courts. When I mentioned this on thread on Tim's Facebook page about this very subject, I was unfriended. Score one for the anti-science, anti-intellectual wing of the GOP.

  • Ronnie

    I would like to comment on the passage that Mr. Wells said. Apparently Mr. Wells needs a lesson in history. The constitution was written by men of faith. They all had a love for God and they all wanted to see this country succeed. That's why on all denominations of our money the enscription reads, " In God We Trust". The principles that you find in the constitution are based off of the Ten Commandments. As a nation we have tried to take God out of everything that we do, but when something bad happens we want to question God and ask "why" or we ask for prayer for the people that it happened to. The rest of the time we don't want God mentioned. I say all of that, for this, Mr. Wells you placed your hand on the Bible and took an oath to uphold the constitution, because the Bible represents the greater good. Since the founding ideas were based from the Bible, it would appear that you were neither correct in your statement nor do you understand the significance of what you did when you placed your hand on the Bible and took the oath. Therefore I would consider that the Bible should always be put first and foremost above everything else. I will reference a parable from the Bible. Matthew 7:24 - 27 discusses a wise man and a foolish man. A wise man will build his house upon a rock and a foolish man will build his house upon the sand. This country is great because it was built upon the solid rock of the Bible, but we have lost our focus on who our solid rock is and we have become foolish and are quickly sliding to the sand. If you read this passage in vs. 27 it distinctly tells you that the house fell that was built on the sand and great was the fall of it! We are headed down a path of destruction and soon we will not be able to come back from it without Divine intervention. When we would rather hand out condoms in schools and teach sex Ed, rather than teaching abstinence, we have a problem. When we would rather teach Darwinism instead of Creation, we have a problem. When prayer is banned at school events for God to protect our children, we have a problem. People across this country have tried to take God out of everything. What about my constitutional rights! We as a Christian nation need to take a stand for our rights and our beliefs. No one makes you pray we just ask that you acknowledge our right to. No one tells you how to raise your children, don't tell me how I should raise mine. Simply put, if you dont like the principles this country was founded on, I am sure there are plenty of other countries that have your same beliefs, go be a citizen their. It's time we put God in America again and stop this whining from the few. If you want to have an abortion, go somewhere else to live that doesn't care for human life. If you want to take prayer out of schools, go somewhere else that doesn't pray. It's time that we stop the minority groups from telling the majority what's right and wrong.

  • Gunga Din

    Laws against abortion kill women. Passing a law to prohibit abortions will not stop them. When women feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to have abortions, even in secret, without medical care, in dangerous circumstances or they will go to a State where abortions are legal. Legal abortions protect women's health.


    A woman is more than a fetus.

    • Ronnie

      I get it. You don't understand that you are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. You think not allowing women to have abortions kills them. It's called a choice. Just like whether you have sex or you choose not to. If you don't want to have a child then I would probably do what I could to prevent it. Abstinence is the sure fire way to prevent it. Then we are not having this conversation. I would like to know how allowing abortions protects a women's health. I believe statistics would show that women who have an abortion has had more medical problems then women who have not. Something to think about.

    • Don Smith

      Yes, and a teenager is more than a toddler, old folks are more than teenagers. But about half of the mature woman were first immature females in a fetal stage of development. Lots of things should be done to limit the number of women who feel pressure to abort their child. Let's do all of them. In the meanwhile let us at the very least limit the extinction of these little fetal humans (boys and girls) to 20 weeks. A stage that is tentatively not known to be painful.

      • Gunga Din

        You don't get it Don. Let's just leave it at that because folks like you can't be reasoned with. Cheers and out.

        • Don Smith

          I can be reasoned with. Please explain how killing an unborn child after we all know it is painful is not worse than killing them earlier.

  • rick

    This bill is not only unconstitutional on it's face according to the 9th Ammendment but should die to the lack of details. Where does the Doctor go to request permission? How long would he have to wait? As I posted before this was a bill that played to the DINO base and was totally unnecessary since no elective abortions were done that late.

  • Tom

    @ Don Smith:
    "Surely conservatives (particularly Christians) far out perform liberals in caring about and for others..."
    Who the heck are you kidding, buddy?
    Cut and gut meals on wheels, Dismantle Social Security and Medicare, take food out of the mouths of widows and orphans to pay for HUGE tax cuts for the wealthy.
    The NEO CONS have worked tirelessly over the last few years to cut food stamps... From Hannity to Rush, Speaker Boehner, Romney, Ryan, McConnell, Palin, etc., etc.... and the beloved Lady Capito....
    70% of food stamp recipients are CHILDREN! FACT!
    So please, continue to run your mouth and show the world you have no idea what you are rambling on about. The Neo Cons... once a baby is born... throw it out with the bath water... we care no longer!

    • Jed

      @ Tom
      Who the heck are you kidding? Who else besides Christians give out free clothing, free meals at food pantries, set up youth hostels, homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, homeless shelters, free Christian counseling, builds wells in Third World countries, provides free medical services and financial help for the destitute and impoverished etc etc.
      And where is the "atheists" version of St. Jude Childrens Hospital?
      I could go on forever about the stuff we do for free. You don't have a clue.

    • Don Smith

      I appreciate your kind remarks. I made no reference to big government and stand by my statement. I will not speak for you, but can't help noticing a trend among liberals generally. That trend is to assume that anyone who is for life has little regard for assisting the poor. That is manifestly not true.
      By the way I also appreciate that you provided an actual name. Thanks again Tom. God bless you.

      • Sarah

        Don, I'm neither a liberal or consevative but I also feel pro life people show little concern for assisting the poor. It's obivous that they have little regard for the childred that are born to mother's who don't want them, can't care for them, have no clue how to take of them, etc. Those babies suffer great harm, yet your ilk don't want to do anything about that part of it. Terrible what happens to these babies and what pitiful lives they have facing them.

        • Don Smith

          Sarah, thank you for describing what you imagine my ilk to be. Perhaps you are indeed neither liberal or conservative. For sure you don't no my ilk. Christians, do care for babies and old folk - poor ones even .

          The issue is, do we lessen the prospect of pain inflicted upon a child in the womb when it suffers an abortion.

          You don't have to be a Christian or even a conservative to figure that may be a good idea. We are asking for our Laws to prevent abortions after 20 weeks, half the expected time the child is developing in his mother's womb.

          God bless you.

          • FollowtheData

            Here's a thought---rather than seeking laws to ban abortion (laws that have been shown not actually to stop abortions, just force women to find dangerous alternatives), why not focus on policies that will help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place?

            Here's the thing, we are ALL pro-life. Nobody wants more abortions. Some people are just more focused on trying to reduce the number of women who end up in a situation where they feel the need to seek one while others are more focused on judging these women for their "poor moral and ethical character" without regard to the situation that they are in that they feel incapable of being good mothers.

            The problem is that many "Christians" also refuse to promote birth control or sex education, both proven steps in reducing unwanted pregnancies.

  • Cynara

    @Tina B: You're so right--I don't think any woman waits that long for an abortion just for jollies.

    Either she has been prevented from having an earlier abortion by meddling pro-lifers or by lack of access to facilities, or she has wanted the baby and something is found to be wrong with it.


  • Cynara

    @Don Smith: A "casual glance" at the Bible might give you a concern for human being's rights, but a longer look would give you a long catalog of "hellish practices".

    Exodus 35:2 "the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death."

    Leviticus 24:14 "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death."

    • Don Smith

      Cynara, thanks for your reply. Have another glance or two. Here is one on me:

      Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. That is Matthew's gospel.

      Again, love for God's Word and a reasonably accurate understanding of biblical context is not necessary to understand that abortion KILLS a person. There are really circumstances that allow for the taking of life, but a mysterious notion of personal privacy is not one of them.

  • wv4evah

    George Carlin may have put it best:
    "Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're f***ed." "
    "Now, is a fetus a human being? This seems to be the central question. Well, if a fetus is a human being, how come the census doesn't count them? If a fetus is a human being, how come when there's a miscarriage they don't have a funeral? If a fetus is a human being, how come people say "we have two children and one on the way" instead of saying "we have three children?"

    • Klilly

      If it has a heart beat it is a live. The reason the unborn child is not counted on the census because any thing could happen to the child during its development. If a unborn child not considered alive but yet parents give them a name before they are born. If you murder a pregnant mother you will be charged for the murder of the mother and the unborn child then it would have to be human in order for you to be charged for that unborn child's death.And for the miscarriage it depends on at the age of the fetus rather or not if a funeral is necessary. Just the same the mother grieves any time they loose the unborn child. West Virginia has one of the best systems in the country for children for health care food and a home and best of all it will be loved.

    • Debra


    • Don Smith

      Carlin was certainly funny, but was not too well schooled on the facts. Surely conservatives (particularly Christians) far out perform liberals in caring about and for others. We just don't see killing a child as the best answer to an unexpected or difficult pregnancy.

      And having personally conducted a funeral service for a still born child, I declare that many parents don't fail to remember those lost so early.

      There is NO way to successfully deny the dignity of the tiniest human life. Legality notwithstanding, taking the life of an innocent one without absolute necessity is barbaric.

  • Tina B

    Apparently, some only care about the constitution when it serves their purpose, other than that, they use it as a floor mat.

    Women don't just decide to have an abortion after 20 weeks out of the blue. They don't walk around for 21 weeks and then say "oh darn it, I meant to have an abortion 15 weeks ago."

    They find out when they have their 20 week ultrasound that something is horribly wrong with their baby. A case where their baby developed without a brain or the baby is dying because the mother's water broke too early.

    These families are devastated and they do not deserve anyone's judgment, just their prayers and their decision to be between them and their doctor.

  • David

    I suspect that Eric Wells is as familiar with the Bible as anyone who suggests that he read it.

  • adk

    Mr wells should read the bible...

    • Don Smith

      A woman will still be able to have her child killed legally. The bill just lessens the degree of pain that must be endured by the child during the procedure. Being a Bible reader is not required to at least be that considerate of the human being's life that is being taken. By the way even a casual glance at the Bible will cause some to abandon this hellish practice. I agree with "adk". Mr. Wells would benefit from reading the Bible.