Skip to comments.West Virginia’s “Pro-Life” Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks
Posted on 03/30/2014 11:24:18 AM PDT by Morgana
Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who describes himself as pro-life and campaigned as a pro-life candidate, has vetoed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
West Virginians for Life, the statewide pro-life group, tells LifeNews it is disappointed in Governor Tomblins veto of HB 4588, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Similar bills have been passed in ten other states and Governor Tomblin is the only governor who has vetoed one of these bills.
fetalpain2In his veto message, the Governor claimed that attorneys advised him the bill was unconstitutional. Many cite an Arizona law as proof, however, according to Mary Balch, J,D., National Right to Life Director of State Legislation, Arizonas Mothers Health and Safety Act, a law which banned abortion after 20 weeks last menstrual period is not the same as West Virginias Pain-Capable Fetus Protection Act.
West Virginias Pain-Capable Fetus Protection Act protects children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on scientific evidence that by this stage of development the child would experience excruciating pain. Arizonas law, as its name implies, focused on protecting the health and safety of the mother, Balch explained.
The Governor has placed himself in a minority position on this bill, said West Virginians for Life (WVFL) President Wanda Franz, Ph.D.
Franz said that, according to a February/March 2013 The Polling Company, Inc. poll, only 12% of the American public believe abortion should be allowed for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. A poll by the same company in July of 2012, found that 70% of women said that abortion should not be allowed from the point that the baby feels pain.
WVFL Legislative Coordinator John Carey added, 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.
ACTION: Contact Governor Tombin at http://www.governor.wv.gov/pages/contact.aspx
The states that have passed Pain-Capable bills include Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 18, 2013, by 228-196. All three members of the West Virginia congressional delegation voted for that bill.
A National Right to Life Committee poll found that 63 percent of Americans, and 70 percent of women, support a ban on post-fetal pain abortion. The same poll also found that American women, by an overwhelming majority of 62-27 percent, would be more likely to vote for lawmakers who support this bill.
The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.
He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier and that a baby before birth under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.
The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a childs development in the womb, they wrote.
Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body, they continued.
With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has provided further research to substantiate their work.
The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies, explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, [w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
In todays medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain, Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, [t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receivers experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.
Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, has testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.
I'm pissed right now and don't mind saying so.
This kind of thing has been typical of ‘Rat candidates for as long as I can remember.
Pose as “moderates” or even conservatives while running for office — but show their true pink once in office.
And of course with the power of pork (and without term limits), ‘Rat incumbents are likely to remain in office for a LONG time.
When dig down deep, all Democrats LOOOOOVE killing babies.
When are people gonna learn that there is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat?
I also think of Manchin. He's a dem, yes, but some of his votes don't seem to reflect the interests of WV, such as energy issues.
This guy got in, so did Manchin. W Va Democrats are good at lying to sound conservative when they are getting elected and then governing like Democrats. When are the West Virginia voters going to wake up to this?
OTOH - we have to keep murderers alive for twenty years or so but a child can be murdered after 20 weeks or less.
W. Virginia elected a governor who belongs to the leftist death cult party (i.e. the socialist democratic party), and then complain about their governor veto-ing a majority backed law. News flash! The democrats could care less what you peons in W. Virginia think! You are nothing but useful idiots who exist solely to further the party cause, and will be discarded, and in this case aborted, when the party elite are through with you.
Welcome to the club of pissed off Americans. Our ranks are swelling by the day, and will soon reach critical mass.
Well, maybe he is just not “THAT” pro-life, okay? I mean, 20 weeks? Come on! /sarc
We need to change our words. Start saying 5 months instead of 20 weeks. “Would you agree with abortion after 5 months?” Somehow, when the unit is weeks, it’s easier to dismiss as earlier in the pregnancy.
That smarmy New Yorker stuff is highly contagious.
There are no pro-life democrats.
Pursuant to Section 7-14 of the WV Constitution, on non-budgetary bills, a gubernatorial veto may be overridden by a simple majority of members in each house. http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/WV_CON.cfm#articleVII
So if the Democrat legislators don’t override that damn veto, we know that the whole thing was a sham to trick voters into thinking that they’re actually pro-life.
Twenty weeks? I note that the doctor's statement was excerpted and I suspect an agenda on the part of the editor.
I just checked with my wife, who is a Masters' Degreed Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a major hospital in Silicon Valley, CA. I don't have a problem with the proposed ban, but facts are facts and we should not be overstating our case. The statement as quoted above is an exaggeration of current NICU capability. As of now, twenty-three weeks is considered the threshold of viability. With very few exceptions, even children born at 23 weeks have life-long problems resulting from the early delivery. Serious lung, hearing, and sight deficits are the most common. They just had a case in which they had to risk the mother's life to get her to 23 weeks. They would not have done that had they any other option.
“I also think of Manchin. He’s a dem, yes, but some of his votes don’t seem to reflect the interests of WV, such as energy issues.”
Not to mention the Senate Gun Bill.
Maybe the Internet hasn’t reached West Virginia yet, and the Dems there CAN STILL campaign on set of issues and then govern exactly opposite?
Anyone know how often states that only require a majority to overrides vetoes, fail to do so? Seems rather pointless to have a veto at all if a super-majority is not required.
In WV, an override takes a majority *of the membership* of each house, so, in theory, a bill may have been passed by a majority of those voting, with abstentions, absences and vacancies not counting against it, but for the override they’d be included in the denominator.
I recall thinking that the WV abortion bill passed by a comfortable margin, so it would take a lot of Democrats changing their votes to have an override fail. Of course, the override would need to be introduced in the hiuse in which the bill originated, and I have no idea what it takes to introduce an override.
Valid point, seems like giving the Governor veto power would be useless if the legislature could override it by simple majority. Still, I’ve read the WV legislature might not override his veto anyway because a few phony “pro-life” RATs might flip-flop when the override measure comes up. Reminds me of Congressman Lipinski voting against Obamacare and campaigning on “I was a principled Dem who stood against Obama” blah blah blah, then voting NO on repealing it.
Also, what constituents “supermajority”? In Illinois, it’s less than the 2/3rds requirement at the federal level, but it still takes 60% of the legislature to override a veto. I’d say that counts as a supermajority (which sadly the Dems now have). Maybe some states have an even greater threshold, like requiring 3/4ths majority to override the Governor.
I remember the 67% override requirement of the U.S. constitution vs. 60% override requirement of the state constitution was an important essay on my H.S. constitution test. (gotta wonder about the freepers who make up their own definition of “republic” to justify their anti-17th amendment talking points that nobody used until a decade ago, and then claiming I flunked my constitution test when I use the correct, universally-accepted definitions of “republic” and “democracy”. I have to assume they took their “constitution test” in communist China because they have the talking points used by the communists to justify Tiananmen Square down pat (”Democracy=MOB RULE!!! Most EVIL form of government EVER to exist! MUST be crushed!!”)
Easy answer, same old one: NEVER!
“what constituents supermajority”
Well, any threshold over 50%+1. I think every states leg (that uses supermajorities) uses either 2/3s or 3/5s. 3/4s of states required to ratify amendments is the only use of 3/4s that I’m aware of.
In addition to veto overrides I know IL requires 3/5s to ratify any federal amendment.
Remember the Cook County Board used to require a four fifths(!) majority to override the President’s veto, the only county in the state with such a ridiculously high threshold! Stroger used the veto to great effect until the state leg passed legislation in 2009 lowering the threshold to 3/5s.
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