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.”

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  • Memo

    Deliberating this issue in the WV House and Senate was not a waste of time. If the unborn are not protected, then none of us is safe. The unborn are the most vulnerable, defenseless, and voiceless in our world. Since the U.S. Constitution allows for abortion, we must use the legislative process to place restrictions on it? The "women's health" issue is ludicrous. I simply cannot fathom how any parent could abort a child -- it is so contrary to natural law. What about the adult's emotional, spiritual, and psychological health after aborting the child? We seldom take those important aspects of "health" into consideration. Abortion may be legal, but it is highly immoral.

  • Patricia

    It is utterly disgusting that it is still acceptable in WV to kill babies. How can the governor justify this? How can the Legislature justify this?

    For some strange reason, it is illegal to cause pain to our pets but not our children?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • rick

    It was the right thing to do to save a lot of time and money. The bill was obviously flawed due to the 9th Amendment....yes there are more than the 2nd. The law was unnecessary because no doctor was doing these late term abortions (not elective after 20 weeks) All that were done (6-7 per year) were due to severe medical complications.

  • justathought

    We cringe at the thought of what Nazi Germany did to the Jews. We are shocked at what we see when we pass through the holocaust museum in our nations capitol, but its o.k. in the United States of America to pull a kicking baby from a mothers womb at 5 months only to have an instrument of death plunged into the base of its brain until the kicking stops. How can a country become so selfish and hard hearted. Explain to me why it takes five months of pregnancy before someone decides to kill their baby. Didn't they know they were pregnant? 56 million babies slaughtered since Roe vs. Wade and the count continues. God help us.

  • Mark

    unbelievable, He is no better than the liberals that run California... vote this bum out.

  • conchop

    George - I appreciate your concern. However, I'm quite sure I'm good. But I'm not so sure about the heretics with Dog Whistles ....

  • The bookman

    Because the ignorant are many, and have poor comprehension skills. I am impressed with you patience though.

  • Adam

    WV has been completely ran by Democrats for close to a century and we are 49th or 50th in nearly every important category, such as education.

    President Bush did many things that were not too conservative, especially as it relates to government spending, TARP, and the Patriot Act. I can't see how we are any better off after 5+ years of Obama than we were during Bush. After more than 5 years of Obama, don't you think that blaming Bush for everything is a little silly at this point?

  • Aaron

    Given that the WV Constitution says he cannot run again, you are wrong.

    Do not take my word for it.

    "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,"

    Governor Tomblin was elected to fill the remainder of Joe Manchin's term in 2011 and again in 2012. That's two terms.

    This is such a simple search, why does the ignorance persist?

  • George

    I feel sorry for you and especially when you meet your maker

  • George

    So now we have a baby killing democrat governor.....can, t wait until election time. I believe that this was joke from the get go as all the democrats probably knew that tomblin was going to veto this bill .. They were hoping to gain more votes due to their sinking ship....we'll it didn't work.....I'm changing my party to republican at least they have respect for human life

  • conchop

    I'm glad to see this win for the Constitution and the loss for power grabbing Bible Thumpers. The lawyers and the "informed", fully realized that this law was a complete waste of Legislative effort. It would never make it through the Courts in one piece and very similar anti abortion laws have already been struck down.

    This Legislation was just another feeble effort of the Evangelical Tea/GOP Conservatives to pass their selected "Dogma of the day" into Unconstitutional law. Why would anyone want to pass an Unconstitutional Law this close to the election??? You've just been victimized by a bunch of Neocons, blowing their favorite Dog Whistle!

    One thing your average conservative goober needs to learn is the priority of Laws. Natural Law is number one and you can't break it. The Laws of Man are very special and in the US, they are set up to give us Freedom of Religion. [ which means we're free of your Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Dogma ]. Religious laws and dogma are the LEAST of laws that rule free people. You're free to follow judgmental religious bosses if you want. But we are a free people and we don't have to follow your religious rules or interpretations of those rules, if we don't want to.

    So you Bible thumpers have been pretty good at infiltrating and attempting to pass restrictive laws in the name of your religion. You'll even try to do it when you know its Unconstitutional. Perhaps this is a good time to have all religious institutions start paying taxes. If the religious institution can't keep out of the affairs of State [ almost like the Taliban ] with these costly sideshows, then pony up.

  • 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.

  • jayzoom

    JANURARY 2017 the governor of West Virginia will beeeeeeeeeeee ---- the honorable -- Earl Ray Tomblin enough said .

  • mike

    And people wonder why the young are leaving West Virginia. No leadership, no vision, just old school politics. No backbone. Tomblin had nothing to lose on this one. Amazing.

    God have mercy on his soul. Vote them all out.

  • CaptainQ

    All I can say about this is, Governor Tomblin must be planning to retire from elected office once his term runs out in two years.

  • Cheryl Gaunt

    I am so disappointed in Gov. Tomblyn for signing this bill. How about the rights of the unborn this day and age, abortion should not be a choice for birth control. There are too many other choices out there to not become pregnant. I would not want to be responsible for all the unborn babies that this bill will murder.

  • Julian Jet

    This issue is a simple one. When does life begin? The Bible teaches that life begins at conception. As for me, I agree. Only God can give life. Therefore, only God can take life. The debate over 20 weeks or 24 weeks or 40 weeks is a smoke screen. Call it a women's health issue or call it unconstitutional. Either way, we will stand before almighty God one day giving an account for our actions or inaction on this issue and others. I find it ironic that Gov Tomblin cites his "pro life" legislative record in the same press release where he announced his veto.

  • 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!

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Finally: a posting of clarity is found!

  • Debra

    He is prohibited from running in 2016!

  • mntr Bob

    GaryK, actually Jesus did not say that, you must have gotten that from MSNBC.

  • Imgrill

    Why mist we spend time and money on an issue decided decades ago? Move forward not backward we have 21st century issues needing legislation.

  • editerguy

    Timothy: I took two semesters of Hebrew and never came close to figuring out the pronoun system. Some are inflectional, some are stand-alone. Second-person plural feminine doesn't seem to fit the pattern at all. Indefinite nouns don't even need a determiner, I think, except sometimes. Sheesh! Could you please explain it to me?

  • editerguy


  • Concerned

    No mansion fan, but what he proposed was hardly gun control.

  • mntr Bob

    Who are the coke brothers?

  • 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.

  • poca guy

    Lol...yeah everyone who disagrees with Democrats are ignorant, stupid, idiots..liberals are the smart ones. Come on wise up.

  • 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?

  • Ralph

    That's right!!

  • Mike

    ERT just another Democrat that hate babies. Hate must be born into the Left wing baby killers. Hating and killing babies is how the Dumbocrats stay in office.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gary K.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Neal

    That doesn't make any sense. So then should we make everything legal Gary? You have to draw the line somewhere. Killing an unborn child to me is over the line.

    JC you are going in the right direction with your point about medical technology. This is one of the reasons I predict that abortion will eventually be made unconstitutional. As medical tech advances, babies will be able to be born earlier in the pregnancy, which will eventually sway public opinion against this terrible practice.

  • Gary K.

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

  • Gary K.

    go tell your lies somewhere else. Fox news loser.

  • Neal

    Those who stand by the constitution to defend abortion need to consider a wider view. Slavery was also considered 'constitutional' in this country for many years before we grew up as a society and made it unconstitutional. I predict that we will go the same one day to the tragedy of abortion.

  • Gary K.

    Yes he is able to run

  • Gary K.

    isn't conservatism the reason our country is in the mess we are in. example the conservative president Bush. How's that working for you. MOVE FORWARD OR GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY! The state is turning red because of stupidity and ignorance.

  • Gary K.

    Actually it has not been upheld. Where do you get your info from? foxnews

  • Gary K.

    Again your wrong. God doesn't say anything. The men who wrote that said it. again I repeat God doesn't say anything. Jesus Christ said hate the sin, not the person.

  • Gary K.

    As usual first derogatory remark is made by a male. It's a women's choice not yours

  • 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 Tolerance for your uninformed sarcasm!

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • Mountain Navy

    Actually states have already passed this type of law and it has held up in court.

  • Mountain Navy

    This is why WV is turning red. Babies can survive after the 20 week period. This is reasonable legislation.

  • Tom

    Ignorance is bliss, isn't it William?

  • zero tolerance


    Get informed!

  • DB

    You sound very compassionate.

  • J the C

    Although I consider myself liberal and somewhat pro choice, based upon the current state of medicine, 20 weeks is too late. 16 is probably more appropriate.

  • 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.

  • Butch

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

  • Retired Charlie

    Go one, Roger.

  • Timothy N. Smith

    The Bible definitely teaches that the unborn are persons because the unborn possess personal attributes, are described by personal pronouns, Jesus is called a child at conception, the unborn are called children, are protected by the same punishment as for adults, are called by God before birth, and are known personally by God just like any other person. Since abortion is murdering a person, abortion is morally wrong.

    Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. It's time for born-again, blood-bought, Bible-believing Christians to take a bold stand for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! He is coming again soon on the clouds of glory for His bride!

    Are you ready? AMEN!!!

  • Worm

    You need help.

  • Debra

    Good. We already don't have enough money to pay our bills let alone defend an unconstitutional law. Women should not be forced to carry a deformed fetus with no functioning brain under the misguided idea that the unborn is a person with rights.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • BIM Job

    It is really sad we as a society have decided it is okay to murder an innocent person in the name of women's health.

    Honestly, I think we should consider men's health. I think men would be healthier if they didn't have to put up with the stress from their wife. So, we should legalize murdering women so men can be healthier.

    To be fair, women should be able to kill men too if it will positively influence their health.

    Therefore, I think it would be rational to just legalize all murder so we can all be healthier.

  • What happened to WV?

    I find it very interesting that Tomblin tries to ease his conscience by placing it on legal counsel. I learned a long time ago if I make a decison it is mine.
    Tomblin is similar to Pilate saying "I am innocent of this man's (these Babies) blood."
    Unfortunately Tomblin will have to answer for this decision.

  • Adam

    It'll be interesting to see if the legislature has the votes to override the veto. The House passed this bill overwhelmingly at 83-15. I'm not sure what the vote tallies were in the Senate.

    Like all WV Democrats, they are for conservative WV principles until they actually have to jump off the fencepost. We saw this with Manchin on gun control. It's no surprise the state is turning more red with every election.

  • 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?

  • DWM

    Our elected officials follow the will of the people and pass this bill, but the governor, in his infinite wisdom, decides it is not right for our state.

    This is the perfect example of how WV democrats rule, whether it is in the state house in Charleston, the Senate or House in D.C. They will talk like they are conservative in their views and at one with the people of the state, but when it comes to actually making decisions, when it comes to ACTION, they always, and I mean ALWAYS, toe the line of the hard liberal left in this country.

    We will change the direction of our state when we stop putting them in office, beginning with the next election.

  • Bob

    Well said Stacey

  • bac

    Disgraceful! Earl Ray will someday have to answer to a God who loves these babies.

  • zero tolerance

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

  • Bill MC

    Lots of people worry about a law bidding citizen carrying a concealed weapon around kids. But a person carrying a hidden gun is not the problem. If someone is out to do harm to someone there isn’t a law that will stop that!
    But many, many women have no trouble killing a baby and calling it a RIGHT! You would think a woman would know well before 20 weeks if she is pregnant; that should be more than enough time to make up her mind if she wants to kill the baby or not. I am not 100% against abortions, there are times I am sure it is necessary to save the mother’s life, but I am 100% against using abortions as a means of birth control. Anyone can make a mistake, but those who keep doing the same thing over and over, then just killing their mistakes, well I don’t understand how that can or should be a RIGHT.

  • Picklebee

    It's ok to kill a baby, but let's keep the tax payers paying momma to keep racing dogs alive!

  • bornwv

    Giving the a womans right to kill her own child is selfish people do not care about human life any more. You can go to jail for killing a dog but not a human

  • 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.

  • William Craig

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dr. Sarcasm

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

  • 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.

  • RogerD

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

  • 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

  • Whip

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!)

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • jcsmith

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