By Eric Eyre

Over objections from doctors and medical groups, West Virginia legislators have put into law a ban on the most common abortion procedure for pregnancies in the second trimester.

The House of Delegates voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of the measure, which outlaws a procedure called dilation and evacuation.

Anti-abortion activists refer to the procedure as a "dismemberment abortion."

"We're talking about ripping an unborn fetus, part by part, to cause death and create the abortion," said Sen. Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, who supported the veto override.

At committee meetings, doctors told lawmakers that dilation and evacuation is the safest way to terminate a pregnancy after 13 weeks.

"We're saying now that the safest procedure cannot be used," said Sen. Corey Palumbo, who opposed the override. "We're requiring them to do the more dangerous, the more difficult and, sometimes, impossible procedure."

The bill (SB 10) allows the dilation and evacuation procedure, provided a doctor first causes the "death or demise" of the fetus.

"We're just saying the demise of the fetus should be caused prior to performing the procedure, so that the child doesn't have to go through that horrific experience," Ferns said.

Tomblin vetoed the bill Wednesday, citing patient safety and constitutionality concerns. Courts have blocked similar bans in Kansas and Oklahoma.

"It's going to be considered unconstitutional," said Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone.

The House voted 85-15 to override Tomblin's veto, while the Senate voted 25-9.

The abortion ban would take effect in late May, if the law goes unchallenged.

Doctors who perform the procedure could lose their medical licenses.

Last year, lawmakers overrode Tomblin's veto of a ban on abortions 20 weeks after conception.

(c)2016 The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, W.Va.)