The West Virginia legislature on Friday voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of a 20-week abortion ban, joining the dozens of states in the country to ban abortion before the point of viability protected by Roe v. Wade.
Tomblin, a Democrat, had vetoed HB 2568, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” this week after it was passed by the GOP-dominated state senate. In West Virginia, a simple majority vote in both chambers is necessary to override a governor’s veto. Both the state house and senate are majority-Republican, and voted 77-16 and 27-5, respectively, to override the veto.
The legislature’s vote marks the first time a governor’s veto has been overridden in West Virginia since 1987, according to the State Journal.
Tomblin vetoed a similar measure last year, calling the ban unconstitutional. Indeed, courts have blocked 20-week abortion bans in at least three states.
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Conservative legislatures have been relentless in their attempts to push through such bans, which rely on bunk science and the dubious claim that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks.
Several states this year have introduced 20-week bans, including Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and Oregon. Earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he would sign a 20-week ban measure if it came to his desk.
A 20-week abortion ban bill was introduced by Congressional Republicans in January, but was eventually pulled because of dissent over its too-narrow exception for rape.
The West Virginia law, which will take effect in late May, gives no exception for rape or incest.
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