On Friday, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed a measure that would protect unborn children from abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the Democrat-led state legislature.
As Breitbart News reported on March 10, the West Virginia state Senate passed the measure, 29-5, with the support of 19 Democrats. The bill also passed in the state House by a vote of 79-17 with the support of 33 Democrats.
The legislation, which would protect unborn children beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy, is based on scientific evidence that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks of life.
Similar laws have been passed in 13 states, and a federal version has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and has more than 40 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate.
In a press statement regarding his veto of the measure, Tomblin, who has claimed to be pro-life, ironically said, “I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life. I have stated this time and again throughout my career and it is reflected in my legislative voting record.”
“However, I have vetoed HB 4588 because I am advised, by not only attorneys from the legislature, but through my own legal team that this bill is unconstitutional,” Tomblin said. “The bill is also problematic because it unduly restricts the physician-patient relationship.”
“All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options,” Tomblin added. “The medical community has made it clear to me that the criminal penalties this bill imposes will impede that advice, and those options, to the detriment of the health and safety of expectant mothers.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life organization, the Susan B. Anthony List, referred to Tomblin’s veto as “shameful.”
“Last night, missing the tragic irony of his actions, Governor Tomblin said, ‘I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life,'” responded Dannenfelser. “This high profile hypocrisy is producing justified outrage in West Virginia and across the nation.”
“Shame on Governor Tomblin for turning his back on unborn children and women by vetoing a compassionate, common sense limit passed with overwhelming bipartisan support,” she continued.
Dannenfelser urged West Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who claims he is pro-life, to become the first Democratic senator to cosponsor the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
As Politico reported on March 10, Manchin said he was “supportive” of the West Virginia measure to limit abortion.
“I am pro-life and supportive of the principles in the bill that was just passed in the West Virginia Legislature,” Manchin said in a statement.
“Now is the time for clarity on the part of West Virginia’s U.S. Senator Joe Manchin,” Dannenfelser asserted. “Senator Manchin has the opportunity to represent West Virginia and lead the nation where Governor Tomblin has so shamefully failed.”