The discharge motion failed on a partisan 48-48 vote, with Democratic Delegates Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln, and Ricky Moye, D-Raleigh, voting with 46 House Republicans for the discharge motion. Four delegates -- three Democrats and one Republican -- were absent.
The legislation (HB2364), which remains in the House Health and Human Resources Committee, would make it a felony, unless the life of the mother is at risk, to perform abortions on fetuses of 20 weeks or more gestation, which the bill contends is the point that fetuses can perceive pain.
"We are talking about a child that is capable of feeling pain. That is a child that shouldn't be aborted," Armstead said in a floor speech, drawing cheers and applause from the gallery.
The hike, which would be in effect for four years, would raise about $200 million a year for the government, which is currently in the midst of a budget crunch.
"I prefer to think of it not as a tax, but as an investment," he said. "I believe if we want a better West Virginia, we have to pay for it, pennies at a time."
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.