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W.Va. Lawmaker Refiles 20-Week Abortion Ban

W.Va. Lawmaker Refiles 20-Week Abortion Ban

January 22, 2015 — West Virginia Delegate David Perry (D) on Tuesday reintroduced a measure (HB 2153) that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the woman is having a medical emergency, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).

Background

Last session, the state Legislature passed a bill (HB 4588) that would have banned abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the pregnancy was not viable. Specifically, the measure would have made it a misdemeanor for a physician to provide an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed the measure last session, saying that it was likely unconstitutional and would restrict pregnant women's health care. He also said he vetoed the bill because the medical community believes that the measure's legal penalties would have imposed on the patient-doctor relationship (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/31/14).

Latest Measure's Prospects

On Tuesday, Tomblin said he likely would veto the bill if it is identical to the one he vetoed last session. However, the state Legislature could override the governor's veto with a simple majority, according to the AP/Chronicle. Republicans hold a majority (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).

Tomblin last year said he is proud of his antiabortion-rights record and would work with the state Legislature in 2015 to enact legislation he feels is constitutional (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/27/14).

According to the AP/Chronicle, the latest measure is similar to an Arizona law (HB 2036) that a federal court ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).