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Justice: Legal Proceedings On Abortion Law Need To Complete Before Special Session

Abortion Courts
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In his Friday coronavirus briefing, Gov. Jim Justice said he will wait on court proceedings before calling a special session.

It may take months before clarification comes on West Virginia’s conflicting abortion laws.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has yet to schedule Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s appeal on an injunction ruling regarding abortion laws. Routine court procedures can take months to complete.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Tara Salango agreed with the plaintiff, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia. She ruled that a 19th century law making abortion a felony conflicted with more permissive abortion rulings. She filed a temporary injunction, halting the old law.

Morrisey’s appeal follows a motion to stay the injunction. No word yet on the status of that stay motion.

All parties involved, including Gov. Jim Justice and House and Senate leaders have said clarification needs to come from the legislature. Justice, the Democratic Party and many others had agreed the clarification needed to come soon.

However, in his Friday coronavirus briefing, Justice said he will wait on court proceedings before calling a special session.

“The legal community needs to give us real rock solid advice,'' Justice said. “Then from that, the legislature needs to speak as to where we need to go.”

The plaintiff, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, is the only clinic in the state with reproductive health care that includes abortions. The clinic has resumed taking appointments for abortion services.

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

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