By a vote of 77-16, the House of Delegates in West Virginia has overridden a veto by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) of a bill that would ban abortion past 20 weeks of pregnancy. The decision to override now heads to the state Senate.
According to the Associated Press, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) has vowed to defend the abortion ban in court if it faces a challenge.
For the second year in a row, Tomblin – who claims to be pro-life — vetoed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, claiming concerns about its constitutionality.
As Breitbart News reported in March of 2014, Tomblin vetoed a similar bill last year that passed the state legislature with significant bipartisan support.
This year’s Pain Capable bill provides exemptions from the law for women past the fifth month of pregnancy in medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest.
As AP reports, the language in the bill provides that even for abortions that would be exempted, doctors are still required to terminate pregnancies in a way that gives “the best opportunity for the fetus to survive,” unless the process would irreparably harm the mother.
Similar laws have been passed in a number of states and a federal version passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, but was pulled from the floor of the House in January when a group of Republicans expressed concern about a rape reporting requirement in the bill. The same language in the bill, however, passed two years earlier.
In a statement last year, Tomblin 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.”
“Yet another self-proclaimed pro-lifer fails to protect not only preborn babies but ones that have scientifically been able to feel pain at 20 weeks gestation,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement to Breitbart News.
“West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin should be ashamed of vetoing, for the second time, a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks,” Hawkins continued. “He cannot honestly say he believes life is a gift and then not sign a bill that protects innocent children from having their lives ended violently and painfully.”
“Gov. Tomblin joins the shameful ranks of other elected officials, like Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), who say they are pro-life but fail to protect these little ones from agony,” she said. “Hopefully the West Virginia legislature will vote to override the governor’s veto.”
Morrisey said he agreed the legislature should move to override the veto.
“It is long-past time that limits are placed on abortions in West Virginia,” the attorney general said in a statement Tuesday.