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Justice: May Be Two Months To Call Special Session On Abortion Law

Capitol Dome, Capitol, Legislature
Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

During his Tuesday coronavirus briefing, Gov. Jim Justice called the court injunction blocking enforcement of a 19th century law making abortions a felony — ‘political theater.’

“The ultimate decision was made by the United States Supreme Court,” Justice said. “Now there's going to be hoops to jump through from our attorney general and he’s appealing immediately to the state Supreme Court.”

Judge Tara Salango’s Circuit Court ruling on Monday noted that the legislative and executive branches have acknowledged conflicts present in the law and the need for legislative revision.

Senate President Craig Blair and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw have said in statements that their legislative legal teams have been working on abortion law clarification for months.

Three weeks ago, Justice said he would ‘move swiftly’ to call a special legislative session to clarify abortion laws. Many expected it would be called within the interim legislative committee meetings that begin Sunday.

Justice said Tuesday he’s continuing to wait for a “thumbs up” that the legislature is ready.

“It may take a month, maybe take two months or whatever it may be but then all this will get worked out,” Justice said. “We do need a special session to clean that up.”

In a response, Democratic Party Vice-Chair Danielle Walker said not calling the special session quickly is a “supreme dereliction of his duty as governor and an act of callous indifference that puts patients lives at risk.”

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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