West Virginia's Senate, House override Governor Tomblin's veto of bill banning dismemberment abortion

Anti-abortion supporters listen to speeches at the National March for Life rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22, 2016.Reuters

West Virginia's Senate and House successfully overrode on Thursday the veto of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of a bill that would ban dismemberment abortions in the state.

The two chambers voted a day after Tomblin vetoed S.B. 10 or the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

The state Senate voted 25-9 followed by the House with an 85-15 vote to thwart the governor's attempt to stop the bill from becoming a law.

In his letter explaining his veto to West Virginia Senate President William Cole III, Tomblin said, "I am advised this bill is overbroad and unduly burdens a woman's fundamental constitutional right to privacy. Among the bill's prohibitions is a leading pre-viability medical procedure [D and E] that, for reasons of patient safety, is preferred by physicians."

Pro-life advocates praised the legislators for the act.

"As I meet with West Virginia legislators, I am encouraged by their overwhelming opposition to dismemberment abortions which are performed on fully formed, living unborn children. West Virginians are pro-life and it is reflected in their representatives," said West Virginians for Life Legislative Coordinator Karen Cross, LifeSite News reported.

The bill defines dismemberment abortion as "with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child's body to cut or rip it off."

It bans the use of dilation and extraction (D & E) abortions in most cases, unless the doctor performing the procedure had first ended the unborn child's life by another method.

Physicians or other licensed medical practitioners who are found guilty of dismemberment abortion may lose their licence to practice.