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WV Attorney General seeks public input on abortion laws, regs

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The West Virginia Attorney General is now seeking public comments as part of his review of state abortion regulations, according to a notice recently posted on the office's website.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sent letters in mid-June to the Women's Health Center of West Virginia and Kanawha Surgicenter, both in Charleston, asking questions about how often clinics are inspected, abortion regulations, whether the clinics have compliance plans and their relationships with the National Abortion Federation.

Morrisey also asked about what types of procedures are used, the maximum gestational age, preferred methods of performing abortions and the amount of anesthesia administered.

Morrisey's office received letters from the two clinics earlier this month. Kanawha Surgicenter and the Women's Health Center of West Virginia sent letters back to Morrisey, each saying the facilities are following all laws and regulations.

The notice on Morrisey's website states the office is aware of provisions in state code governing abortions but says the office has not found laws requiring abortion procedures be performed by licensed physicians or regulations that set a gestational age limit.  

"To ensure that our review is as thorough and transparent as possible, we invite all interested stakeholders and the general public to share with the office their knowledge and experience with health care regulation, generally, and abortion regulation, specifically, in West Virginia and elsewhere," the notice states.

The notice listed the following areas as ones of interest: regulations/standards for health care facilities and abortion clinics; compliance and auditing of facilities/providers; reasons for differential regulatory treatment of hospitals, ambulatory, surgical facilities, physician offices and abortion clinics; reasons for differential regulatory treatment of medical procedures; private accreditation versus government regulation; authorized providers of abortion; informed consent standards; gestational age limits; West Virginia abortion laws and regulations compared to other states; and finally, information or educational materials gathered by any other West Virginia government official on abortion regulations.

The public is encouraged to email responses by Aug. 16 to regulatoryreview@wvago.gov.