Abortion industry files lawsuit against West Virginia abortion law

Abortion advocates filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the state of West Virginia for its law protecting most preborn children from abortion. The plaintiffs, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia and “Dr. John Doe” are being represented by the ACLU, ACLU of West Virginia, Mountain State Justice, and the Cooley law firm.

In the suit, the plaintiffs are calling the state’s law protecting preborn children from abortion “irrational and unconstitutional,” and are asking the U.S. district court to block the law pending a hearing. According to WV Public Broadcasting, the plaintiffs also take issue with the fact that the law was passed by lawmakers in a special session lasting less than 24 hours.

The state’s abortion law, HB 302, passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Jim Justice in September. It prohibits most abortions, allowing exceptions for rape and incest victims in the first eight weeks of pregnancy for adults and the first 14 weeks of pregnancy for minors. Other exceptions allow abortion for babies who are expected to die, and for medical emergencies such as an ectopic pregnancy — though an induced abortion is not medically necessary in any of these situations and is not the same as treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.

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“The near-total abortion ban passed by the West Virginia legislature last year contains restrictions that are not rationally related to any legitimate state interest and therefore, violate the Constitution,” said Bren J. Pomponio, litigation director of Mountain State Justice.

“Every person deserves to access the critical care they need, but this law pushes essential abortion care out of reach,” said Katie Quiñonez, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia executive director. “With each day this ban remains in effect, we are forced to turn patients away because politicians took away their power to make the best medical decisions for themselves during pregnancy.”

Following news of the lawsuit, the state’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey put out a statement. “We are ready to defend West Virginia’s abortion law to the fullest. This law reflects the will of the majority of the citizens of the state as relayed by their elected representatives in the State Legislature,” he said. “I will stand strong for the life of the unborn and will not relent in our defense of this clearly constitutional law.”

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