WASHINGTON – In a 27-5 vote, the West Virginia state Senate today joined with the state House of Delegates in voting to override Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HB 2568), legislation that protects unborn children from abortion at the point that they are able to feel pain. Tomblin’s veto came after the state House of Delegates and the state Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill in February. The legislature’s successful override of Gov. Tomblin’s veto means that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will go into effect in 90 days.
Despite having passed the legislature last session, Governor Tomblin’s first veto of this legislation came after the session ended, preventing an override vote.
“Medical science provides substantial compelling evidence that unborn children flinch away from painful stimuli, that their stress hormones increase when they are subjected to anything painful, and that they require anesthesia for fetal surgery,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “States have a compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion. West Virginia becomes the eleventh state to recognize this obligation by enacting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
The legislation is based on a National Right to Life model bill that is currently in effect in eight states across the country: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The West Virginia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect unborn children from 20 weeks fetal age, based on legislative findings that there is compelling evidence that an unborn child by that point (if not earlier) is capable of experiencing excruciating pain during the process of dismemberment or other abortion procedures.
“The overwhelming override of the governor’s veto reflects the will of pro-life West Virginians who worked so hard to elect legislators who will stand for life,” said Karen Cross, political liaison for West Virginians for Life. “We are thankful that the legislature took up the mantle of protecting the most innocent and defenseless when we were failed by Governor Tomblin. Today, West Virginia is a safer place for pain-capable unborn children and a better place for all those who value human life.”
“We commend the members of the legislature who supported this bill for their courage and compassion by adding their voices in favor of protecting pain-capable unborn children who are unable to speak for themselves,” added Balch. “We condemn Governor Tomblin for his cowardice and indifference toward the innocent, unborn child who is capable of great suffering from the violence of abortion.”
Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.