Randy Yohe Published

W.Va. Attorney General Files Motion To Stay Injunction Halting Abortion Law


West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a motion Tuesday for a stay of a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of a state abortion law. If granted, the stay would be in place until the courts can decide on an appeal of the injunction.

On Monday, Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Tara Salango agreed with the plaintiff, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, that a 19th century law making abortion a felony conflicted with subsequent and more permissive abortion rulings.

Following the injunction, the clinic, , the only one offering reproductive health services including abortion in the state, announced it would resume taking appointments for abortion services.

Morrisey’s stay motion to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals calls the injunction a wrongly-decided ruling.

“We believe it’s critical to file for an immediate stay in light of this flawed decision and seek this emergency measure to prevent immediate loss of precious life,” Morrisey said in a statement. “When life is in jeopardy no effort can be spared to protect it, including seeking whatever stay can be had. The unborn children of our state can’t wait.”

A prior opinion from the attorney general said the 19th century criminal law making abortion a felony was valid, but did need legislative clarification for enforcement purposes due to the more permissive abortion laws also on the state books.

The confusion on conflicting abortion laws is expected to be settled by the West Virginia Legislature, but Gov. Jim Justice has not called for a special session.