W.Va. AG Patrick Morrisey releases memorandum on abortion regulations

AP Photo/Raymond Thompson, File
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson, File(Ray Thompson | AP)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:58 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey outlines the potential impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on abortion regulations in West Virginia in a memorandum released Wednesday.

Morrisey references West Virginia Code § 61-2-8, an 1849 law criminalizing the provision of abortion for a healthcare provider that was never repealed. Though he says it is enforceable, Morrisey “strongly advises” the West Virginia Legislature to amend state laws to provide for clear prohibitions on abortion that are consistent with Dobbs.

Morrisey suggests in-part, “a legislative session will need to focus on several crucial areas: specifying the acts that are subject to criminal prosecution and determining whether a woman should be subject to prosecution; and determining the nature of any exceptions.”

As for the 1849 law, which was challenged in the case of Doe v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., Inc, Morrisey says, “we stand ready to defend the present suit against the statute and take action upon a request from the Governor to petition the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to lift the current injunction against West Virginia’s partial-birth abortion law.”

He also says the state stands ready to defend any of the other existing laws on the books.

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