[JURIST] The West Virginia Legislature [official website] on Friday overrode the governor’s veto, passing a bill [text, HB 2586] banning abortion after 20 weeks. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin [official website] said he vetoed the law because of concerns over its constitutionality and would have preferred a later gestational period for banning abortion. The bill excludes [AP report] certain cases of medical emergencies and is set to take effect in May. West Virginia is now the 11th state to ban abortion after 20 weeks. The legislation is based on the premise that fetuses can feel pain starting around 20 weeks, a concept which is heavily debated. The legislature passed a similar bill last year, which was also vetoed by the governor. The legislature passed [JURIST report] the current bill on Wednesday.
Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] have remained a divisive issue throughout the country for decades. Last month the Kansas Senate [official website] approved [JURIST report] a bill that would prohibit a common second trimester abortive procedure by redefining it as a “dismemberment abortion.” Also in February Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website] asked the US Supreme Court [official website] to allow the state to enforce [JURIST report] an abortion law that was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2014. The Montana Supreme Court [official website] in February reversed [JURIST report] a decision granting summary judgment to Planned Parenthood [official website] in a case challenging two Montana abortion parental consent laws, ordering further proceedings. In January the US House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [JURIST report] that would ban abortions supported by federal funding.