West Virginia: 20 Week Abortion Ban Passes in Democrat-controlled Senate

Daniel Doherty

3/10/2014 2:45:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Good news for the pro-life community via the Herald-Dispatch: The West Virginia state senate -- comprised of 24 Democrats and 10 Republicans -- passed legislation (HB4588) on Saturday to ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation. The Washington Post also notes that West Virginia is the first state in the nation (controlled by Democrats) to do so, citing fetal pain as a reason:

A West Virginia House Bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy cleared the Senate Saturday, 25-9.

The House still had to give the bill final approval as of press time.

The bill would make West Virginia one of 10 states that asserts a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

“We were an outlier state in that we didn’t have any regulations,” said Sen. Evan Jenkins, R-Cabell. “Now we’re part of this growing movement."

Legal challenges, however, are expected -- even though it’s up in the air if the state’s Democratic governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, will sign the bill:

On Wednesday, The Associated Press asked Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin if he would sign the abortion bill. He said he would take a look at it if it passed the Senate floor. The House passed the bill in February.

We’ll see if he does. But the legislation does pose problems for national Democrats in general, and the DNC in particular. Will they endorse this life-giving measure passed by both chambers -- or will they decide to go on-the-record, criticizing their own party in the process for taking steps to ensure that viable, unborn babies are protected in the womb? There’s no easy choice here for a party that emphatically and unequivocally supports abortion rights.

Remember, the bill could not have passed without supportive Democrats, as they control the state legislature. And while West Virginia is turning into a red state, watching Democrats pass this initiative is significant in and of itself, no?

Anyway, here's an excerpt from the statement West Virginians for Life (WVFL) blasted out over the weekend:

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect West Virginia’s unborn babies, who can feel pain, and asserts a compelling state interest in protecting the unborn child from pain. Scientific research demonstrates that unborn babies can feel pain beginning by at least 20 weeks after conception. “It is important that West Virginia has asserted its legitimate concern for the well-being of these innocent babies by protecting them from pain,” said Wanda Franz, President of WVFL.