A Rare Moment of Political Courage in WV


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill late Friday that would have banned abortions of fetuses after 20 weeks gestation. The governor called the bill unconstitutional and a “detriment” to women’s health.

The bill (HB4588) would have made it a felony, punishable by not less than a year in prison, to perform an abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, except in instances in which there are physical complications that place the woman at risk of death or serious irreversible physical impairment.

“I am advised, by not only attorneys from the Legislature, but through my own legal team that this bill is unconstitutional as shown by actions of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Tomblin said in a written statement.

Arizona was among several states to pass similar laws, but a federal appeals court struck down the Arizona law last year, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused in January to hear the state’s appeal.

Tomblin said the West Virginia bill “is also problematic because it unduly restricts the physician-patient relationship. All patients, particularly expectant mothers, require the best, most unfettered medical judgment and advice from their physicians regarding treatment options.”

“The medical community has made it clear to me the legal penalties this bill imposes will impede that advice, and those options, to the detriment of the health and safety of expectant mothers,” he said.

The governor also said, “I believe there is no greater gift of love than the gift of life. I have stated this time and again throughout my career and it is reflected in my legislative voting record.”

I’m actually kind of stunned.

29 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Every once in awhile, pols do do the right thing.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    He just saved the state millions in legal fees trying to defend an unconstitutional law. The soi-disant party of fiscal responsibility will never stand for that.

  3. 3
    🍀 Martin says:

    Congrats, you have at least one non-chickenshit elected official in your state.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I heard this earlier today on NPR and was hoping you would front-page it. Good for Tomblin.

  5. 5
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Sanity? In my state government? It’s more just as unlikely than as you think.

  6. 6
    gbear says:

    @rikyrah: Every once in a while, pols realize that something is too stupid to go along with.

  7. 7
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I hope he’s ready for the shit storm that’s going to rain down upon him.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    Nice pieces on Appalachia here for those interested.


  9. 9
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Good for Tomblin. That his decision was legally and morally correct will not deter those with little knowledge of the law and even less knowledge of normal human relationships from shoveling shit at him as hard and as fast as they can.

  10. 10
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I was amazed an heartened at the same time.

  11. 11
    J.Ty says:

    I like how he did the pre-justification by referencing legal challenges and stuff. Makes it feel less ideological to the non 27%. Not being sarcastic–I’d rather have the right decisions made for the right reasons and then lampshaded as something else, as opposed to just stating the right reasons and then ending up with a Republican next cycle.

    See also: “It should be up to the voters,” brought to you by Schwarzenneger et al. Same tactic (ideological veto, practical-sounding excuse). It works.

  12. 12
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: OT, I just clicked the “I, too, am Harvard” links you posted over at Booman Tribune. I hope you can get someone here to front-page that project.

  13. 13
    Jacks mom says:

    With all the slut shaming crap going on in New Jersey (and the rest of the world I guess). This is a glimmer of hope.

    How does it feel to live in such a liberal Mecca Mr. Cole?

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    Good for Tomblin, and for you for acknowledging him.

  15. 15
    the Conster says:

    Wake me up when they want to punish the fathers too. That’s the only way this shit will end – when men feel their rights are under just as much stress. Until then, it’s just another fucking male dictating the terms of the war we’re fighting, because the next governor or the governor after that might not veto. Don’t even get me started on Justice Kennedy.

  16. 16
    Heywood J. says:

    Never fails to amaze how, two full generations after Roe was decided, these jerkwater states insist on re-litigating it, over and over and over again. There has to be a more productive hobby for these idjits.

  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    DAMMIT COLE! How are we going to make fun of WVa if politicians are not willing to continue to do shitty things? I mean we will always have Mississippi and Louisiana but we can’t always count on them.

  18. 18
    Long Tooth says:

    “I’m actually kind of stunned”. Must be something in the water the governor drank.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    And West Liberty falls to the Central Missouri Mules in the DII natty.

  20. 20
    Lee Rudolph says:

    I’m trying, but failing, to come up with a bad-taste joke involving the likely teratogenic/arbortificient qualities of West Virgina water these days, and the implications thereof for any such bill.

    I mean, I’m not failing to come up with one, I just can’t come up with a postable one.

    …However, I do congratulate him sincerely.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Heywood J.:

    these jerkwater states insist on re-litigating it, over and over and over again.

    And they are one president or Justice Kennedy becoming more religious in his old age away from winning the whole thing.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    GregB says:

    Those GOPers(and conservaDems) hate regulatin’ bizniss but they love regulatin’ the lady parts.

  24. 24
    satby says:

    @the Conster: yeah, I agree. That’s why it’s a good thing the crazy train has started to go after birth control too, because average people are only going to start taking this seriously when they feel threatened (because no one thinks they’re going to need an abortion, until they do).

  25. 25
    Heywood J. says:

    And if they were serious about keeping abortion numbers to a minimum, they’d be encouraging birth control, pushing any and every method available, for free and on demand. Nope, this is all about controlling women’s sex lives.

    The weirdest thing about all this (from the perspective of a straight, white, married male) is how many of these activists and would-be legislators are women. It’s just bizarre.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @Heywood J.:

    Never fails to amaze how, two full generations after Roe was decided, these jerkwater states insist on re-litigating it, over and over and over again. There has to be a more productive hobby for these idjits.

    When Roe is overturned, the grift ends. They need Roe in place – because fighting against it is a generates money and votes. But you can’t go around screaming “liberals/Democrats are killing all the baybeeez” if legal abortion is gone (not just practically gone, as they have managed in some spots.)

  28. 28
    lorimakesquilts says:

    Wow, I just assumed our gov would sign and never followed up. Money beats religion around here. There are too many still alive who froze and starved because of the lack of money in the state.

  29. 29
    Bob says:

    Wild, wonderful, not yet insane.

Comments are closed.