West Virginia Overrides Governor's Veto On Abortion Law

Posted: Mar 06, 2015 6:35 PM
West Virginia Overrides Governor's Veto On Abortion Law

The newly elected Republican legislature in West Virginia flexed its muscles today by overriding Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin veto of an abortion law that would ban the practice after 20 weeks. In other words, late-term abortion is banned in West Virginia (via AP):

The ban provides some exemptions for women in medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest.

The bill is based on the assertion that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, which is disputed in medical research.

Opponents say it's unconstitutional and intrusive into doctor-patient relationships. Ten other states ban abortions after 20 weeks.

The West Virginia law resembles one that was struck down in Arizona in 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to reconsider that case.

West Virginia is one of the few states in the country where a simple majority is needed to override a veto. Gov. Tomblin, who touts himself as pro-life, vetoed the legislation due to constitutional concerns, but even Democrats in the legislature supported the bill.

Despite what pro-aborts may say about 20-week bans, they’re popular, especially amongst American women. In a 2013 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 60 percent of women supported the measure, 56 percent amongst all adults. Polling also showed that there was immense support for more restrictions on abortion as well:

In fact, of four major polls conducted in recent weeks on the 20-week abortion ban, each one shows women are actually more supportive of the law than men.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows 60 percent of women prefer allowing unrestricted abortions for only the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the Supreme Court-prescribed 24 weeks. Among men, 50 percent support the 20-week law — a 10-point gap.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the gap at seven points, while two other polls (from NBC/Wall Street Journal and National Journal) showed it at six and four, respectively.

And those numbers may actually understate support among women for the new restrictions.

In the Post-ABC poll, rather than choosing between a 20-week ban and the current 24 weeks, 8 percent of women volunteered that abortion should never be legal, and 3 percent volunteered that the window should be smaller than 20 weeks. If you add them to the 60 percent of women who support the 20-week abortion ban, then 71 percent of women would seem to support the effort to increase abortion restrictions.

Granted, the GOP tripped up badly with the latest push to ban abortions after 20 weeks at the federal level last January. But, it’s still a popular measure.