West Virginia Tries Again to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Jan 23, 2015   |   10:39AM   |   Charleston, WV

Last summer, the West Virginia legislature passed a 20-week abortion ban on abortion by overwhelming bipartisan margins.

After its passage, the President of West Virginians For Life (WVFL), Wanda Franz, said, “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect West Virginia’s unborn babies, who can feel pain, and asserts a compelling state interest in protecting the unborn child from pain. Scientific research demonstrates that unborn babies can feel pain beginning by at least 20 weeks after conception. It is important that West Virginia has asserted its legitimate concern for the well-being of these innocent babies by protecting them from pain.”

westvirginia2However, their “pro-life” governor vetoed the legislation because he claimed it was unconstitutional. This shocked most pro-life West Virginians because during Gov. Tomblin’s gubernatorial campaign he said he was pro-life.

Now, David Perry (D-WV) has reintroduced the bill into the West Virginia Legislature. Delegate Perry told WOWK-TV, “I feel very confident that the bill will pass this session. Whether the governor signs it into law or not, one thing I think we have this year is we have the ability to override his veto.”

Following the veto in 2014 pro-lifers held a press conference in the lower rotunda of the state Capitol to express their disappointment in the governor and to call for a special legislative session. At the conference, Jennifer Popik, JD, the legislative counsel for the National Right to Life Committee’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics said, “Let’s be clear — this is a very developed child. This is a child the medical community sees as a second patient, and this is a child who can feel pain. There is a very strong case that this law, if heard by the Supreme Court, would be found by five Supreme Court justices to be constitutional.”

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Additionally, WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey said, “We expect a groundswell of support leading up to the 2015 session. Furthermore,” he said, “nothing the Governor has done has changed the fact that there is a substantial body of scientific evidence that unborn babies from 20 weeks and older feel pain.”

Republicans now control the West Virginia Legislature and if the governor veto’s again, they only need a simple majority to overturn it. Currently, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has passed in Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas.