May 16, 2024

Recapping The Major Pro-Life Victories in West Virginia’s Primary


It was a big night for Students for Life Action (SFLAction) supported candidates and officials in the West Virginia primary on Tuesday. Pro-abortion candidates were beaten back after numerous candidates, who returned the Students for Life Action Candidate Survey and pledged to vote pro-life 100%, won their races, including: 

  • Senator-elect Tom Willis – Senate District 15, defeating Senate President Craig Blair Senator-elect Christopher Rose – Senate District 2, defeating Sen. Mike Maroney 
  • Senator Patricia Rucker – re-elected – Senate District 16 
  • Senator-elect Brian Helton – District 9 
  • Delegate-Elect Lisa White – House District 96 
  • Delegate-Elect Chris Anders – House district 97

In one specific race, however, the margin of victory was razor thin – and it’s in part to the hard grassroots work of SFLAction that Sen. Patricia Rucker was able to pull off a win.  

The story of this fight begins after the historic Dobbs decision in 2022, when West Virginia passed theAbortion Prevention Act with the intent to stop all abortions in the Mountaineer State.  

Unfortunately, Senate President Craig Blair and some of his weak on life leadership team prevented pro-life Republicans in the State Capital from filing amendments that expanded the protections for children conceived in rape and incest, as well as watering down the life at conception protections that were originally sought. Key in filing those pro-abortion amendments was Sen. Mike Maroney, who also sponsored amendments to weaken penalties for criminal abortionists. 

This primary season, those same individuals tried to defeat Sen. Rucker.  

Yet, the Pro-Life Generation was there to support her in her district, knocked on over 1,200 doors and engaged voters in her district about the pro-abortionists haunting the Republican Party in their state.  

We told voters about how we worked with Sen. Rucker to introduce the West Virginia Clean Water for All Life Act (SB 278), which incorporated Red Bag Medical Waste language and regulations around the clear identification of “BIOHAZARDS.”   

READ: SFLAction-Inspired Bill in West Virginia Addresses Standards Surrounding Medical Waste & the Environment with the Use of Chemical Abortion 

As a result, the race in Sen. Rucker’s district was won by a mere 200 votes. 

Our students were also on the ground at various times educating voters about Blair’s record.  

Each and every battle to pass pro-life laws in state legislatures is a battle between true pro-lifer champions who want to advance strong legislation, and elected officials in Republican leadership, often with more loyalty to institutions or the political establishment than the desires of their voters, who want to cater to the least pro-life, most pro-abortion member of the GOP caucus to “hold everyone together.” 

This big tent approach does not work – there is no making peace with a little abortion. Like our SFLAction President Kristan Hawkins wrote in a December 2023 op-ed in The Washington Times: “Like a gambling addict down to his last dollar, the Republican Party lately makes a risky bet — that undercutting the principled position on human life will appeal to moderates who favor abortion access or independents who will never turn out in numbers to vote for the GOP on this issue. The party loses voter enthusiasm, loses the moral high ground, and loses credibility.” 

READ: Students for Life of Action President Kristan Hawkins Pens Fiery Washington Times Op-Ed Towards the GOP: “Making peace with a little abortion is a losing proposition.”  

SFLAction takes great pride in getting these weak on life phonies on the record and telling their constituents what they’ve done – the truth can be surprising to those who think their leaders are standing up for life. Yet, by educating them and reminding them closer to Election Day, we see results like we saw on Tuesday night: the pretenders get thrown out of office by the voters. And pro-life champions like Sen. Rucker, and the others elected in West Virginia and Nebraska, can step in and hold the line.  

Get involved and help defend life this fall! 

READ: Abortion IS on the Ballot: The Top Pro-Life Ballot Initiatives for 2024