West Virginia Governor Vetoes 20-Week Abortion Ban

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the state.

Last Friday, Tomblin vetoed the bill, HB 4588, which resembles legislation passed and later blocked by courts in Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho.

“I have vetoed HB 4588 because I am advised, by not only attorneys from the legislature, but through my own legal team that this bill is unconstitutional,” Tomblin said in a statement announcing his decision.

While much of the coverage of the veto has focused on his statement that the law was clearly unconstitutional, the governor made two other points that evince a significant victory for reproductive health and rights advocates.

“The bill is also problematic because it unduly restricts the physician-patient relationship,” Tomblin said. “All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options.”

High-ranking doctors, including the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at West Virginia University as well as members of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the West Virginia State Medical Association, went to West Virginia’s state house to lobby and testify against the proposed ban.

However, in keeping with a trend that is gaining pace around the United States, the legislators—including many Democrats—voted for the bill despite the doctors’ views.

By contrast, the governor decided to follow the advice of medical experts.

“The medical community has made it clear to me that the criminal penalties this bill imposes will impede that advice, and those options, to the detriment of the health and safety of expectant mothers,” he said.

Reproductive rights advocates welcomed the governor’s decision, calling the bill “dangerous.”

“We believe that these decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, not by legislators,” said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of WV FREE, in a press release. “The Governor made the right choice in vetoing this bill and we are heartened by his decision to place his trust in the women of West Virginia and the medical community.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact press@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Sharona Coutts on twitter: @sharonacoutts

  • KingMeIam

    Those doctors supporting abortion should read the Hippocratic Oath sometime.

    • red_zone

      They did. ‘First, Do No Harm’. Which means that this bill would’ve have brought significant harm to patients and prevented doctors from doing their job. If the doctor can’t do what he’s there to do, then the patient will suffer.

      • KingMeIam

        Yeah, you should probably familiarize yourself with what the oath states about abortions before you proceed any further.

        Have a great day.

        • red_zone

          I did. You fail to keep in mind that back then, methods of abortion were FAR NASTIER than what we have today and women who didn’t have children were considered less valuable.

          Also, the doctor needs to keep the needs and well-being of the PATIENT in mind before thinking about how HE feels. it’s not all about the doctor.

        • HeilMary1

          Hippocrates was probably a pedophile. But Jesus H. Christ had no problem performing chemical abortions by serving ABORTIFACIENT miracle wine to the Cana bride and her female guests!

    • L-dan

      Wow, yet another one line zinger that has nothing to do with the article and is designed simply to stir the pot.

    • HeilMary1

      You mother killers should quit deadly womb trafficking on behalf of pedophile priests.

  • red_zone

    Good call for the governor.

  • tigalily

    Wow…actually listening to the medical community who has the most experience? Shocking! Good job Governor.

    Meanwhile…in Michigan “Rape Insurance” Texas “We won’t outlaw it…but good luck finding a clinic!” and Arkansas “Heartbeat Ban”

    As a woman these would be states I wouldn’t even dare vacation in.

  • R0chambeau

    A comment on this website was deleted. It was about the Hypocriti Oath.

    I’m not a doctor, but I at least know know that the HO did not condone abortion. Comments?