CHARLESTON – It has been a busy few days for the West Virginia attorney general’s office, with a federal court ending federal warrants of COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers and the United States Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in an abortion rights case.
In a statement Wednesday following submissions to the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a case challenging Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, Morrisey called on the High Court to uphold Mississippi law.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s right to abortion services and limits states’ ability to ban abortions before 23 weeks. Another decision in 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upheld the earlier Roe v. Wade and prohibits states from banning abortions before fetal viability can be determined.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, opponents challenged a 2018 law passed in Mississippi that banned abortions before 15 weeks except in specific circumstances. West Virginia was one of 24 states that filed submissions in support of Mississippi law.
“It is high time to overturn the erroneous Supreme Court rulings that resulted in the tragic deaths of over 60 million unborn children,” Morrisey said. “Our Constitution should never have been interpreted in a way that allows it to override the compelling interests of states to protect innocent lives. I am proud to join Mississippi and other advocating voices. the sanctity of human life. “
Depending on how the Conservative Supreme Court majority rules, it could make a restrictive ruling overturning Mississippi law but now the court’s earlier ruling in Roe v. Wade, or the court could overturn Roe v. Wade, giving states back the power to limit or ban abortions.
Several groups, including the West Virginia branch of the ACLU and the women’s reproductive rights organization WV FREE, spoke out on Wednesday against a possible Supreme Court ruling that would strike down Roe v. Wade and raised concerns about tougher abortion laws in West Virginia’s future.
“The stakes could not be higher. Our reproductive rights are at stake,” said Margaret Chapman-Pomponio, CEO of WV FREE. “At the same time, there are hardline politicians in the West Virginia legislature who are determined to pass cruel… abortion bans that would be devastating for West Virginia.”
Voters in West Virginia approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that added new wording to the West Virginia Constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution guarantees or protects the right to abortion or requires funding for abortion. abortion. West Virginia law already prohibits abortions after the 20th week, and the state’s only abortion provider does not perform abortions after the 16th week.
“If the state of Mississippi is successful … it’s about when, not if, other states across the country will pass their own laws to make abortion inaccessible, a policy that will affect marginalized communities more than any other.” said Loree Stark. , Legal Director of the ACLU-WV.
In 2020, the West Virginia legislature passed House Bill 4007, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, requiring physicians to use their best medical judgment to protect the life of a fetus if it shows signs of breathing. or heartbeat. Last year, lawmakers passed House Bill 2982, the Second Chance at Life Act, which requires women undergoing chemical abortions to be informed that the process can be stopped until the woman takes the second drug in the two-drug chemical abortion. to treat.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine warrants issued by Executive Order of President Joe Biden and enforced by federal agencies, Morrisey said the courts sided with West Virginia and other states that have opposed mandates.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on Tuesday issued an order granting a preliminary injunction against COVID-19 vaccination warrants for healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. West Virginia was part of a coalition of 12 states opposing the Mandates.
“We are pleased that the tribunal made a sensible decision and sided with the individual freedoms of healthcare workers,” Morrisey said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Our group has been successful in preventing the entry into force of this mandate for the time being, and we believe that the mandate will be definitively canceled in the future. Such mandates threaten to put more strain on the healthcare industry and patient well-being in West Virginia, where a large percentage of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are already facing a shortage. labor. “
Morrisey also joined six other states last month in filing a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to block Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine warrant for federal contractors. A separate federal case in Kentucky blocked implementation of the contract vaccine mandate in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal has already blocked a mandate for vaccines and tests for companies with more than 100 employees.
Steven Allen Adams can be contacted at [email protected]