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West Virginia Gov. vetoes Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

by | Mar 3, 2015

Majority vote in each house needed to override Tomblin veto

By Dave Andrusko

The West Virginia Senate passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 29-5

The West Virginia Senate passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 29-5

Having vetoed an almost identical law last session, it came as no surprise today when West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed House Bill 2568–The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

As he did in 2014, Tomblin touted his supposed pro-life credentials before vetoing a law passed in the House of Delegates 88-12 (which included the support of two-thirds of the House Democrats) and by 29-5 in the Senate.

A simple majority in both houses is needed to override the veto. Such a vote could come as early as today.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has passed in ten states. It is being challenged in court in two states but is in effect in the other eight.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey pledged to defend HB 2568 in court.

“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,” Morrisey said in a statement.

If it becomes law, HB 2568 would protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling excruciating pain during the process of dismemberment abortion or other abortion procedures. Compelling evidence demonstrates that the unborn child is capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks fertilization, if not earlier.

Again, as he did in 2014, Tomblin cited “constitutional grounds” as an explanation in his veto message. The Associated Press dutifully ended its brief story this morning with “Both bills [this year’s and last’s] resemble a law struck down in Arizona in 2013 that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.”

However National Right to Life has already explained why and how West Virginia’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act differs from Arizona’s “Mother’s Health and Safety Act.”

The latter was based on the legislature’s stated interest of protecting the health and safety of the woman.

In passing The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the West Virginia legislature stated that its compelling interest is in protecting the life of the pain-capable unborn child, basing that on abundant scientific evidence demonstrating that the unborn child at that point in development is capable of feeling pain.

Such scientific evidence wasn’t available in 1973 when the High Court handed down Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton.

Categories: Legislation