West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey decried a circuit court judge’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against a West Virginia abortion law that has been on the books for more than 100 years.
As a result, abortions are once again able to be performed in the Mountain State.
“This is a dark day for West Virginia,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “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.”
The Attorney General argued against the injunction for several reasons.
He says, First, it is not possible to claim that post-Roe civil abortion regulations repealed the state’s anti-abortion law by implication.
The statutes do not irreconcilably conflict since civil laws dealt with numerous aspects of unregulated post-Roe abortion, offered alternative enforcement methods in the face of Roe’s restrictions on the criminal statute and are similar to other situations where criminal and civil statutes dealing with the same topic exist in West Virginia law.
Also, he says the Legislature never intended to repeal and replace the Act when it passed post-Roe regulations, and the historical evidence proves this.
Beyond that, the Attorney General argued that the state’s prosecutors had never simply decided to stop prosecuting the 1800s law that remained on the books even after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Indeed, as even opponents admit, it was used up until the Roe decision.
Instead, the law went unenforced only because courts said that, under Roe, the criminal statute was unenforceable. Despite this, there was never legislative action to remove the Act from the West Virginia Code. Now that West Virginia once again has the freedom to address abortion as it best sees fit and enforce its laws, the state and the public have a strong interest in seeing a duly enacted and non-repealed statute recognized as in force.