The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

March 29, 2014

Governor vetoes bill on abortion

Tomblin advised it’s unconstitutional

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks.

Tomblin said, in a statement released by his office on Friday, his reason for vetoing the bill was because it was unconstitutional.

“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 while he believes there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life, he had to veto the bill.

During the regular session, Sen. Erik Wells asked for the bill to be read in its entirety, explaining it was unconstitutional and he was prepared to bring that to the attention of the Legislature.

Wells said it was amazing to him the Legislature would be so quick to protect West Virginians rights when it came to Freedom of Speech, the Right to Bear Arms, but legislators were quick to “trample the rights of women in West Virginia.”

Tomblin said his legal team were not the only ones advising him the bill would do more harm than good.

“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.”

Tomblin said the medical community had also advised him the bill would have jeopardized the health of pregnant women.

“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 added.

Known as the abortion bill, House Bill 4588, is the second one Tomblin has vetoed since the legislative session ended on March 8.

Tomblin also took issue with the budget bill, vetoing several aspects of it on March 19.

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