West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed a bill late Friday
that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, calling it
unconstitutional and a “detriment” to women’s health.
Earlier this month, the West Virginia legislature became the first Democrat-controlled body to pass a 20-week abortion ban. The legislation would have made it a felony, punishable by no less than a year in prison, to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases where a woman’s life is endangered, according to the Charleston Gazette.
Tomblin said in a statement that he vetoed the bill because his legal team advised him it was unconstitutional and added that the legislation unduly restricted the physician-patient relationship.
“All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options,” he said in the written statement. “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.”
The U.S. Supreme Court in January rejected Arizona’s bid to enact its similar 20-week abortion ban.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.