West Virginia's Abortion 'House of Cards'

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By Kristan Hawkins, CP Op-Ed Contributor
April 2, 2014|12:58 pm

Last Friday, the Democrat, formerly self-proclaimed pro-life Governor of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin, vetoed a late-term abortion bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HB 4588). This commonsense bill bans abortions after 20 weeks when preborn children have been scientifically proven to feel excruciating pain during an abortion.

Despite passing with 80 percent support from both the Democrat-led West Virginia House and Senate, Governor Tomblin shamefully vetoed the late-term abortion ban, obliterated his pro-life record, and aligned himself with a small minority of Americans who believe abortion should be legal in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason.

With one signature, he threw away the trust of West Virginia, an overwhelmingly pro-life state.

And it was all a set up.

After Republicans in the state Capitol forced a vote on this human rights bill, the Democratic leadership thought of the perfect "House of Cards" plan. They allowed the bill to quickly come up for a vote, foregoing the usual debates in committee and educational citizen hearings. Worried about losing the House to Republicans in 2014, this allowed their vulnerable members to be on record voting pro-life. The whole time, they knew the Governor would veto the bill.

Governor Tomblin is a lame duck and has publicly expressed his retirement plans to many in the state capitol. He took one for the team - allowing those vulnerable members of his party to get a pro-life check and all he had to do was veto the life saving bill and throw away his pro-life record.

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After all, he is still sore at West Virginians for Life, the state National Right to Life affiliate, for endorsing both he and the Republican for the Governor's seat.

This is sickening. I remember when I was in high school, walking these halls lobbying for the legal protection of those who are most vulnerable. I remember meeting with a pro-life Earl Ray Tomblin.

To abolish abortion in our nation, we need both Republican and Democrat support. We need American's political parties to see abortion not as a political issue, but see it as it truly is --- a human rights tragedy.
And now West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has the opportunity to right Governor Tomblin's wrong, continue the national conversation, and become the first Senate Democrat to co-sponsor the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

We need leadership on both sides of the aisle, and we need to leave the "House of Cards" deals to stay where they belong, on Netflix.

Kristan Hawkins is the President of Students for Life of America, the nation's largest pro-life youth organization with over 700 groups nationwide. She is author of the new book, Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime.
 

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