(Morgantown — March 29, 2014) West Virginians for Life is disappointed in Govern5monthsor Tomblin’s veto of HB 4588, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  Similar bills have been passed in ten other states.  Governor Tomblin is the only one to find it necessary to veto the bill.  In so doing, the will of the vast majority of legislators and the pro-life people of West Virginia has been ignored.

In 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, “Arizona’s ‘Mother’s Health and Safety Act,’ a law which banned abortion after 20 weeks last menstrual period is not the same as West Virginia’s Pain-Capable Fetus Protection Act,” she said.  “West Virginia’s 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.  Arizona’s law, as its name implies, focused on protecting the health and safety of the mother.”

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) even 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.  Presumably they did not consider the bill to be unconstitutional.

“The Governor has placed himself in a minority position on this bill,” said West Virginians for Life (WVFL) President Wanda Franz, Ph.D.  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.”