West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a a bill to ban the dismemberment abortion method that tears unborn babies limb from limb. The West Virginia Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, SB 10, successfully made it through the state legislature and would make it the latest state to ban the abortion method.
The bill passed by a vote of 86-13 after more than an hour of debate. Any abortion practitioner who violates the ban would lose his medical license, essentially prohibiting him from ever doing abortions again.
This bill outlaws a form of abortion that “dismember[s] a living unborn child and extract[s] him or her one piece at a time from the uterus.” This heinous procedure undermines the dignity of all human life, and should be outlawed in West Virginia. In ordinary medical care, doctors have testified that there is no emergency that requires dismembering a living unborn baby.
“Dismembering a living, unborn child in the womb so that she bleeds to death is so horrific that it should be outlawed,” said West Virginians for Life President Wanda Franz. “West Virginians can indicate their support for this law by contacting their legislators and asking them to vote for SB 10.”
In his veto message, Tomblin noted that the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have struck down similar bans on a woman’s right to choose the abortion procedure.
“I am advised this bill is overbroad and unduly burdens a woman’s fundamental right to privacy,” Tomblin wrote.
The Senate and House of Delegates passed the ban on so-called “dismemberment abortions” last month. Legislators plan to override the veto this week, possibly as early as today.
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“I believe Senate Bill 10 strikes the right balance between the rights of physicians to practice medicine, a woman’s right to privacy and the lives of unborn children,” said Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer. “The Senate will vote to override this veto without delay.”
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur
But would such an abortion ban be constitutional given the Roe v. Wade decision? The group points to the high court’s ruling in the partial-birth abortion case as grounds for banning dismemberment abortions too.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.” Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
“When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”
ACTION: Contact the governor here.