CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP & WSAZ) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a bill that would have banned abortion in West Virginia after 20 weeks.
The Democratic governor said he vetoed the legislation because of constitutionality issues raised by his legal team and attorneys for the Legislature.
The bill resembles a law struck down in Arizona that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.
Because of the legal penalties it includes, Tomblin said the medical community thought the proposal would unduly restrict the doctor-patient relationship to the detriment of the health and safety of expectant mothers.
Tomblin said his legislative record and career show his priority in the "gift of life."
The bill sparked days of debate about fetal pain and women's rights before passing both Democratic legislative chambers overwhelmingly.
The group WV Free responded with the following statement:
“HB 4588 would have taken away a woman’s ability to make extremely personal and often heartbreaking reproductive health care decision,” said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of WV FREE. “We believe that these decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, not by legislators. The Governor made the right choice in vetoing this bill and we are heartened by his decision to place his trust in the women of West Virginia and the medical community.”