By Dave Andrusko
At the end of the legislative session, after West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, West Virginians for Life (WVFL) vowed to work to force a special session. Although still short, WVFL is closing in on enough signatures to compel Tomblin to call the Legislature back in session.
Tomblin, unsurprisingly, has already vowed to veto the bill again. House Speaker Tim Miley (D) issued a statement of support for his position.
In a speech Wednesday, House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) urged members to sign the petition. He said of Tomlin’s threat to veto, “I’m sure it’s a message to the remaining Democratic members to not sign the petition.”
However, Tomblin would have no choice if three-fifths of the members of both houses request it in writing. That means 22 in the Senate and 60 delegates.
As of Thursday night, Armstead said it was his understanding that “54 delegates and 23 senators had signed the petition,” the Charleston Gazette reported.
As he did when he issued his veto at the end of March, Tomblin insisted he was pro-life but that the bill was “unconstitutional.” Speaker Miley characterized the bill as “legally flawed,” and added dismissive comments about “special interest groups” and the cost of having a special session.
“It is unfortunate that the Speaker does not think that the passage of legislation to protect the unborn child is important enough to place on the agenda of a special session,” said WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey. “The people of West Virginia are overwhelmingly pro-life. It is time that the state legislature took action to ensure that these pro-life values are reflected in the laws of the Mountain State.”
Carey also had this important reminder back in early April when a coalition of pro-life groups, lead by West Virginians for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate, held a press conference in the lower rotunda of the state Capitol. He said
“In this legislative session, our compassionate legislators passed legislation designed to protect children from bodily harm due to child neglect and abuse. It was only appropriate that they also passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which recognizes the need for such protection beginning at 20 weeks in the womb.
“The Governor’s veto has demonstrated a lack of compassion for these innocent children suffering horrific pain during late-term abortions.”