CHARLESTON — The only abortion clinic in West Virginia has resumed scheduling abortion procedures following a court ruling temporarily halting the state’s pre-Roe law banning most abortions.
The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia made a statement following the ruling, saying, “A judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking West Virginia’s 150-year-old abortion ban. This means our clinic can begin scheduling abortion appointments and will provide abortions for as long as we legally can.”
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tera Salango granted the clinic a temporary injunction, preventing the state from enforcing the abortion ban and allowing the clinic to provide abortions. The court has not yet ruled on the legality of the law but granted the injunction after it found that the rules were vague and the clinic was able to demonstrate irreversible harm.
The clinic argued that the pre-Roe abortion ban was repealed by implication because the legislature had passed laws that regulated legal abortion when the Roe V. Wade ruling was in effect. The clinic’s lawyers explained that the laws on the books conflict with the pre-Roe law, which makes it invalid.
“We applaud the court’s decision to block West Virginia’s archaic abortion ban, which has caused weeks of chaos and devastation in the state for people who need abortion care since Roe was overturned,” said Deputy Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Alexa Kolbi-Molinas in a statement. “The impacts of forcing women and pregnant people to carry to term and give birth against their will has life-altering consequences, including grappling with serious health risks, making it harder to escape poverty, and derailing education and career plans. While today’s decision is an important first step, the fight is not over and we’re determined to use every tool at our disposal along the way to protect abortion access for West Virginians.”
Attorney General (AG) Patrick Morrisey, who is defending the state law in court, announced he will appeal the ruling.
“This is a dark day for West Virginia,” said Attorney General Morrisey. “We will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Appeals as soon as legally possible. As a strong pro-life advocate, I am committed to protecting unborn babies to the fullest extent possible under the law, and I will not rest until this injunction is lifted. The current law on the books calls for the protection of life.”
Attorney General Morrisey argued that the legislature never intended to repeal the state’s abortion ban when passing more recent abortion laws. Instead, he argued it was an alternative method of enforcing restrictions when the law could not be enforced. AG Morrisey explained that the statutes do not irreconcilably conflict with each other, since they were civil laws dealing with unregulated post-Roe abortions.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said he would call the legislature into a special session if the abortion ban could not be enforced. Gov. Justice also said he would work with Republican leaders to guarantee that the law is clarified to ensure the state enforces pro-life policies. Various Republican leaders have already expressed their support for the governor’s plan.
The information for this article was obtained from the research of multiple sources. The Record Delta will continue to follow the breaking news as it becomes available.