CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed the legislation which would have made an abortion past the 20 week gestation mark illegal in West Virginia. Tomblin issued the veto late Friday saying the bill was unconstitutional and a detriment to women’s health.

The bill won approval in the House and Senate and would have made performing an abortion after the 20 week pregnancy time frame a felony. The bill called for punishment of no less than a year in prison for a doctor found in violation.

“I am advised, by not only attorneys from the Legislature, but through my own legal team that this bill is unconstitutional as shown by actions of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Tomblin in a statement issued with the veto. “The bill is also problematic because it unduly restricts the physician-patient relationship. All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options.”

Supporters of the bill claimed medical evidence showed the unborn baby was capable of experiencing pain at the 20 week gestation mark. Although there was debate about that among medical researchers.

Officials with West Virginia Free were pleased with the governor’s decision.

“HB 4588 would have taken away a woman’s ability to make extremely personal and often heartbreaking reproductive health care decision,” said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of the organization in a statement released after the veto. “We believe that these decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, not by legislators. 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.”

West Virginians for Life, who hailed the bill as one that had already been adopted by ten other states were disappointed by the news.

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

“Nothing the Governor has done has changed the fact there is a substantial body of scientific evidence that unborn babies from 20 weeks old feel pain,” said West Virginians for Life Legislative Coordinator John Carey. “We expect a groundswell of support leading up to the 2015 session.”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Mark

    Those who are in favor of killing unborn children have always hidden behind the "woman's health" issue. I encourage everyone who believes in protecting the most innocent among us to flood Mr. Tomblin's phone with calls.

    • Stacey

      "Woman's health" is a real issue. It is ridiculous to say that being pregnant/ abortion/miscarriages are anything else.

      You want to fight for the 'unborn' and the zygotes, go ahead but they all fall under women's health. ALL OF THEM.

      • Ragweed

        "Women's health" is nothing more than a cop out for those who want to terminate the life of an unborn. It's an excuse for not wanting a baby because it's the wrong sex, it's inconvenient, or for some other whimsical excuse.

        Here's a novel approach - why don't you keep it in your pants and show a little restraint and self control if you don't want a baby.

      • mntr Bob

        "I've noticed that everyone who is in favor of abortion has already been born." Ronald Reagen

      • Me

        What about if the baby is a female and her health?

  • William Craig

    This decision is a joke. Tomblin should be voted out next election for this decision alone.

    • Ragweed

      Unfortunately he was voted in. We traded a good governor for a bad governor and a fence-straddling senator that can't make up his mind which side he is on. Hopefully both will be voted out next chance.

    • Tom

      Ignorance is bliss, isn't it William?

    • Cliff

      Dear Mr. Educated Voter William Craig,

      You should definitely vote against him in the next election.

      Those of us that understand elections and are laughing at you.

      • Gary K.

        You are absolutely right Cliff, I am laughing at their ignorance. I don't have all the answers like the repugnuts. But 1-answer is better than anything they can come up with.

      • zero tolerance


        Get informed!

    • zero tolerance

      Ummmmm, he isn't eligible for re-election in 2016.

      • Gary K.

        Yes he is able to run

        • Aaron

          No, he's not. WV Constitution Article 7 Section 4-Eligibility Specifically states that a person elected to "all or part of term" cannot run a for a 3rd term.

          • Debra

            He is prohibited from running in 2016!

        • Gary K.

          Democrat I am you must be at the top of your profession.

      • Democrats suck

        Umm. Earl was elected in 2010 to fill out manchin's term. He was elected in 2012 for his own term. Therefore he is eligible to run again. Uninformed much?

        • The bookman

          This is ERT's second term, even though his first was a shortened term. Constitutionally, he is not eligible to run in 2016. Apology due to zero Tolerance for your uninformed sarcasm!

          • Aaron

            Directly from the WV Constitution.

            Article 7-4. Eligibility.
            None of the executive officers mentioned in this article shall hold any other office during the term of his service. A person who has been elected or who has served as governor during all or any part of two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for the office of governor during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms. The person holding the office of governor when this section is ratified shall not be prevented from holding the office of governor during the term immediately following the term he is then serving.

          • The bookman


            Here is an article that verifies my post.


          • The bookman

            He ascended to Manchin's unexpired term, was elected to his own term, albeit less than for less than two years and then was elected to his second term in 2012. Sorry, but those are the facts, and the WV Constitution stipulates that he is not eligible as a result. Before posting rude comments that indicate an uninformed position, it would behoove you to verify your "facts" if that is what you are calling them.

          • Democrats suck

            If you are filling out an unexpired term that is considered the previous incumbents term. Thanks for playing.

        • The bookman

          This is ERT's second term, even though his first was a shortened term. Constitutionally, he is not eligible to run in 2016. Apology due to zero Terrance for your uninformed sarcasm!

  • Stacey

    Thank you Governor! I've been really mad at you over the veto of funds for low income programs but this? This is the wise decision for the safety of women in WV.

    Thank you.

    • Bob

      Well said Stacey

  • Mark Malone

    So a Democrat cares about the US Constitution and fiscal responsibility? Republicans are blasting him for it? Have we switched universes? This would have cost our state millions of dollars only to be ruled unconstitutional AGAIN.

    No wonder WV has so many more Democrats in office locally, the republicans are anti-republican values.

    • Mac

      But what about the child? Who speaks for that human miracle? Every person that commented here is alive! YOU were not terminated or aborted! Had you been, I wouldn't have to waste my time and effort to convince you that abortion is murder! Let's change "abort" to "adopt" - there's only two letters of difference between life and death.

    • C. F. T.

      Lawyers involved with drafting, reviewing and lawyer members of the legislature crafted the wording in an effort to satisfy federal law/constitution so bring the our spineless gov. chose to pander to special interest voters than take on the fight.
      Who cares what the cost to fight might have been if it saved lives? After all how much effort and dollars do you spend, you employer insurance and/or gov. assistance is spent to give each and every one of us good health and lengthen our lives? In other words how much is your life worth and how much should be spent to preserve it?

      • Gary K.

        go tell your lies somewhere else. Fox news loser.

      • Mark Malone

        Wasting money on a fight that has already been lost over and over and over again isn't saving lives. It's wasting time and money.

        Put the money into helping more people have access to adoptions or foster care. That at least won't be a losing battle and wasted dollars.

  • Dr. Sarcasm

    "Detriment to women's health"? What about the baby's health?

  • jenny

    so the gov has made it ok to take your concealed weapons into community buildings & such but then he stands for abortion. I hope the first person shot in one of these public places is related to the govenor

    • DB

      You sound very compassionate.

    • Worm

      You need help.

  • Whip

    I don't often side with Earl Ray, but this was the smart move.

  • Bob

    Thank you Governor for your wisdom. You just saved the state millions of dollars in litigation costs to defend a bill that is definitely unconstitutional.

    • Concerned

      Exactly. Until abortion is illegal, states laws will be trumped. It'd be a waste of time and money passing this law. But this is the current political agenda. Every election cycle it's about guns and babies. Think this is the first time the governor actually acted as such.

  • Pickle Barrel

    What a moment in cowardice. Tomblin vetoes this bill at 6:30 on a Friday evening to avoid the news cycle.

  • editerguy

    Abortion is not the issue here. The issue is whether state law can supersede federal law, and the answer, like it or not, is no. Restricting abortion, establishing a 100-mph speed limit on interstates, raising the voting age back to 21, legalizing the ivory trade--it doesn't matter what the state legislature passes if there's federal law already in place. The fact that some people feel very strongly about a particular issue does not change this. (So let the irrelevant abortion comments begin!)

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Finally: a posting of clarity is found!

    • Retired Charlie

      Federalism is not the issue here either. The issue is whether the governor is in step with the majority of West Virginians or not. Two years from now he will never admit to not signing this bill. He's always voted against abortion.

    • Shadow

      Federal Law supercedes State Law if the Congress and President have the authority under the Constitution. For a lot of folks, it is hard to find a reference to Abortion there. They consider it a State's Right issue under the Tenth Amendment like a lot of other things that have been usurped ;by the Feds and SCOTUS.

    • C. F. T.

      Nice smoke screen there editerguy, so are you saying the many Lawyers from the time the bill was conceived in the bill writing process through lawyers for both the house and senate committees as well as the numerous lawyers who are members of the legislature who supported this bill are ALL wrong in there understanding of federal law? No I think not.
      This bill was crafted to conform to federal law.

      • Gary K.

        This idiotic legislation was brought to our state by the coke brothers and alec. It has been introduced by all repugnits in a lot of states. Passed in some states, but when challenged in federal court it loses. As stated before it is against federal law.

        • mntr Bob

          Who are the coke brothers?

          • The bookman

            Gary is too busy blasting Fox News and conservative positions to inform himself of the issues. None of his posts add anything to the debate, more like Bill Maher parting comments. Hey Gary, it's the Koch Brothers! Aka the Boogeymen!

  • TB

    Should please Barbara Evans Fleischauer. Amazing how the "unconstitutionality" argument is what she chooses to tout for her feelings against the bill. She stated she voted for the bill by mistake - Mrs Fleischauer your stance on abortion is well known by the voters in Mon County. No need to muddy the water - just say you are for abortion.

  • Lifeforthem

    A reporter needs to ask the Governor if his wife is pro choice. My guess is that this is the only "lawyer" he listened to. It is strange that the one thing that the Governor actually takes a stand on is being for abortion which he claims he has always voted against.

  • Jason412

    It's great the Legislator wasted so much time on this. It's not like they had anything else to do.

    • Lifeforthem

      To some people this is a very important issue. Late term abortions should be prohibited. Thanks to the legislature for passing legislation on this and shame on the Governor for vetoing it.

      • Gary K.


  • Ralph

    What does the state elected Atty. Gen. (Not the unelected governor's attorneys ) have to say about this bill? Maybe if the unborn could vote the governor would have more compassion for them.

    • RogerD

      Ralph, the unborn do not vote in WV, only the dead.

      • Ralph

        That's right!!

      • Retired Charlie

        Go one, Roger.

  • jcsmith

    Wow!!! This country needs pray. Governor you had a chance to do something good and you passed it up.

    • Butch

      The Governor is afraid of losing votes over the expense of babies. A real coward!