CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of West Virginians for Life said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin can no longer call himself “pro-life” following his Friday veto of HB 4588, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The bill the Legislature approved during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session would have banned abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies.  If the bill had become law, doctors performing such abortions could have faced criminal charges.

The veto, though, will likely not be the end of the matter.

On Monday, Dr. Wanda Franz with West Virginians for Life and other supporters of the legislation were looking into the possibility of a Special Session to give lawmakers the opportunity to either override the veto or even pass the bill again.

Franz said the issue is too important to wait until the 2015 Regular Legislative Session.  “We’re definitely going to take action and it looks like a Special Session is the way to go,” she said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40) said, even if Gov. Tomblin refused to call a Special Session to address the bill, according to state law, he would have to do so if three-fifths of the members of both the state Senate and state House of Delegates requested it.

Armstead was reviewing the law, dealing with veto overrides, with other state leaders on Monday.  “We think that there’s at least a strong possibility that there’s a legal remedy here that you can go in to a Special Session and override the veto,” said Armstead.

Such a move would require support from Democrats.  “We just have to see what the level of distaste for this veto would be within the Democrat caucus,” said Armstead.  “But I think there are certainly some who would feel compelled to go back in and override this veto.”

In a statement issued with his veto on Friday evening, Tomblin cited his pro-life legislative voting record before saying the following:  “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,” he said.

“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.”

Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of West Virginia Free, said Tomblin did what he had to do.

“We’re happy that he listened to doctors when it seemed that many legislators would not,” she said.  “I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but it looks like he looked at the facts and that’s what he came up with.”

On Tuesday, West Virginians for Life will hold a press conference at the State Capitol to push for the Special Session.  That night, a prayer vigil will be held at 8 p.m. outside of the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Nancy Tolliver

    Several things were evident from the onset. Regardless of what your right to life leaders are telling you, they wanted the unconstitutional version to pass. 1. The language in this bill is not constitutional and huge WV dollars would be required to fight the litigation resulting. 2. Right to lifers lobbyist were not willing to listening to the WV medical professionals when they discussed the language and the situations where inducing labor during the 20-24 week period would be needed to save the pregnant woman. No, the bill language does not give the physician room to make needed medical decisions in crises situations. Our OB physicians from WVU, CAMC, Cabel Huntington, Princeton, and Lewisburg all came or presented information to object to the language. The right to lifers and Catholic representatives were never willing to compromise the language for the pregnant woman's life. There is no reason that West Virginia legislators and the Governor should be harassed into a costly battle. Thank you, Governor for using logic in your decision.

  • George

    I'm just glad that Mary did not decide to abort Jesus........Tomblin was talking to the wrong doctors if he bases his decision on their statements, they are not God........can.t wait until election time to vote these idiots out........this Country has deteriorated seven fold......By the way, you see Tomblin' s lack of leadership in handling the water disaster in see how our great State has ranked last or next to last while we have been under Democratic rule...".

    • Linda

      Well at least we know you're not pushing your Christian faith. A Christian wouldn't doubt God's choice when He picked Mary.

      The rest is just dumb. Bad bill, glad it's vetoed.

  • Pro Common Sense

    If Republicans controled the legislature, I have a sneaking suspicion this is the type of stuff they would focus on and all they would pass. Scary thought!

    Common sense says LET IT GO.

    • The bookman

      But they aren't in control, yet here we are. I agree it's a waste of time, not because it's unconstitutional, but that it is just an incremental ploy by the pro life crowd to chip away at Roe v. Wade. It's never ending, and pointless as the country is no where near that place. Clinton was correct in stating that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare.

      I personally believe its murder from conception forward, but I am way in the minority, and I don't get to decide for everyone else. Sometimes, you just have to accept that your personal belief on an issue can't trump what most others feel is the right path. As long as you're not forcing someone to have one, you shouldn't force someone not to when it is socially accepted practice or deemed medically necessary.

      • Linda

        All the republicans voted for it, while the democrats were split. I will take the split vs the whole bunch of crazies.

        While I wouldn't vote for all the democrats, I wouldn't vote for any of the republicans. I don't want to revisit 1973.

        • The bookman

          "The anti-abortion bill received overwhelming support in the Legislature. It passed the House 83 to 15 with two not voting. The Senate approved the bill 29 to 5."


          The House on the Democrat side was 70/30 split, the Senate 80/20. Plus the Democrats were in control of the pace of the bill , and could have let it die without action. Say what you want, but it was overwhelmingly supported by both parties.

          And as for 1973, no way do I want to go back. Yes, in seven years I'd get 8 years of Reagan, but having to endure Carter again just would be too much!

  • Sarah

    Stop wasting our tax dollars on a bill already knocked down in court.

  • wvrefugee

    While we're at it, let's post the Ten Commandments on the Capitol steps!!

  • C. F. T.

    This time make it very clear upon what legal basis, supporting and signing the bill would survive any legal challenge based upon federal law/constitution.

  • rick

    Give it up already. You can't put lipstick on this hog of a bill and make it Constitutional.

  • Steve McBee

    Shows the legislature has the guts our governor doesn't!

    • Cait McKnelly

      Shows your governor has the brains your legislature doesn't.