CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Claiming a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is “what West Virginians want,” the legislative coordinator of West Virginians for Life called on lawmakers to reignite the bill Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently vetoed.
John Carey and other supporters of HB 4588, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, were at the State Capitol on Tuesday to put pressure on leaders of the state Senate and state House of Delegates to again bring up the legislation Tomblin vetoed last week in a special session.
“We believe that the reasoning the governor put forth (for the veto) was flawed,” Carey said. “First of all, he’s taking the position of being a judge and we think he’s not being a very good judge.
“We believe that, when the legislators look at the facts, they’re going to disagree (with the veto decision). I think they already disagree with the governor’s actions, but they’re also going to disagree with his reasoning.”
Tomblin cited his pro-life legislative voting record before saying the following in a statement issued with his veto on Friday evening: “I am advised, not only by 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 continued, “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.”
The Legislature can only vote to override a veto while in session and that is why Carey and others are calling for a special session.
“I know that the Republicans want it to happen and I do know there’s a lot of passion among the Democrats (for) the bill. They believe in this bill and I think there’s a very good opportunity that this could happen,” said Carey.
It’s usually up to the governor to call a special session and decide the agenda. However, according to state law, a governor must call a special session if three-fifths of the members of both the state Senate and state House of Delegates request it.
According to House officials, the last time such a move was successful was under then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller in the early 1980s.
“If there was a time that it should happen, this is the time,” said Carey on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
On Tuesday night, those with West Virginians for Life held a prayer vigil outside of the Governor’s Mansion to continue their push for the fetal pain bill.
Several national pro-life advocates were on hand for Tuesday’s events. Those national officials are calling on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to co-sponsor the federal Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.