West Virginia’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act takes effect today

By Dave Andrusko

WestVirginiaoverridereRarely does a headline better capture the obstacles our Movement so often overcomes in winning protection for unborn children. The Associated Press story, written by Jonathan Mattise and run today, is titled “20-week abortion ban in West Virginia becomes law despite governor’s veto 2 years in a row.”

The measure passed the first time in 2014, but Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s first veto of that legislative session came after the session ended. This prevented an override vote.

Pro-lifers came back more fired up than ever and the bill passed both houses by wide margins. Governor Tomblin’s March veto came after the state House of Delegates and the state Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill in February and was promptly overridden.

Although the legislature overrode Tomblin’s veto of HB 2568 last March, this legislation that protects unborn children from abortion at the point that they are able to feel pain did not take effect until today.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on a National Right to Life model bill. NRL News Today readers well remember the tenacious fight West Virginians for Life, working closely with National Right to Life, fought to pass—not once but twice—the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Noteworthy in Mattise’s story is, on the one hand, “Amid the Democratic governor’s worries over constitutionality, the state’s Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has vowed to defend the ban against potential legal action,” and, on the other hand, “It’s unclear if, or when, that kind of challenge might surface.

Translation? Pro-abortionists are very nervous about asking the courts to strike down a law that so clearly resonates with the public.

Like all Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts, including the federal bill just passed in the House of Representatives, HB 2568 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.

“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.”

“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. West Virginia is a safer place for pain-capable unborn children and a better place for all those who value human life.”

Added Balch at the time of the override, “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.”