By Dave Andrusko
The West Virginia House of Delegates overwhelmingly voted this morning to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The tally was 77 to 16. A simple majority was required.
HB 2568 now heads to the Senate for a vote. If the Senate concurs with the House’s action, it would be the first veto override in West Virginia since 1987.
As NRL News Today reported yesterday, Tomblin vetoed an almost identical measure last session. Each time he began by pledging his pro-life convictions, only to veto the laws on “constitutional grounds.” As we explained Tuesday, this is an allusion to a different kind of bill which was struck down by an appeals court, a bill which is completely different than HB 2568.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement pledging to defend the law in court. He said
I am disappointed with the Governor’s decision to veto the pain capable legislation for the second year in a row and urge the Legislature to override it. It is long-past time that limits are placed on abortions in West Virginia. Currently West Virginia law does not limit how late an abortion can occur. While no one can predict with certainty how a court will rule, I believe that there are strong, good-faith arguments that this legislation is constitutional and should be upheld by the courts. If the Legislature overrides this veto and the law is challenged, I will defend it in court.
Jennifer Meinig, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, couldn’t say enough good things about Tomblin’s veto. “We need solutions that improve a woman’s ability to make the best reproductive health decisions for her circumstances,” she said in a statement. “One-size-fits-all legislation is dangerous to women, their families and their providers.”
Not so, said West Virginians for Life. “This bill reflects the most current medical research, which clearly demonstrates that human beings feel pain beginning at least by 20 weeks gestation,” said West Virginians for Life President Wanda Franz. “It protects West Virginia children from pain and abuse from the beginning of the time that they are capable of suffering from pain.”