Briana Heaney Published

W.Va. Can Restrict Sale Of Mifepristone, Federal Judge Rules

A hand holds out a white pill next to a white prescription medication container.Credit/Planned Parenthood

A federal judge has ruled in favor of West Virginia’s restrictions on medication abortion.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers dismissed over half of the claims filed by pharmaceutical group GenBioPro in a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey.

GenBioPro manufactures a generic version of Mifepristone, an FDA approved, non-invasive prescription pill. The medication is used in conjunction with Misoprostol for medical abortions and can be taken at home to terminate a pregnancy.

The lawsuit claimed that Morrisey violated federal law, more specifically the commerce clause of the U.S Constitution by prohibiting the sale of the drug in West Virginia. 

The clause gives Congress broad power to regulate and restrict states from impairing interstate commerce. However, Chambers, who presides over the southern district of West Virginia, said states have the right to regulate public health and morality by curtailing the sale of goods.

In response to the judge’s ruling, Morrisey said he is pleased with the court’s decision.

“While it may not sit well with manufacturers of abortion drugs, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that regulating abortion is a state issue,” Morrisey said.

The court earlier ruled that GenBioPro had legal standing to bring a suit against the attorney general’s office on the basis of economic damages incurred by the company. 

The attorney general’s office says the telehealth provision of the lawsuit will proceed.

“We look forward to arguing the remaining issue of this lawsuit, and we are confident in the merits of our case,” Morrisey said.