MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — With the decisions on how to regulate abortions now in the hands of each state, the next step for West Virginia comes from Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey could ask the Circuit Court or West Virginia Supreme Court to lift an injunction on a 19th-century law, making performing abortions a crime.
The law would consider an abortion a homicide and would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine. The only exception would be if the doctor was trying to save the life of the mother or the unborn child. WVU Law professor Anne Lofaso said the law could also affect pharmacists who give out birth control and women with IUDs, if decided by the courts.
“Anytime a woman has, say, sexual intercourse with her husband and has an IUD, that potentially she could be engaged in a crime because you don’t know if a baby could’ve been actually conceived because it prevents conception typically,” Lofaso said.
Attorney General Patrick Morrissey has said he supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Lofaso said this kind of overruling from the U.S. Supreme court is “very unusual.”
“Usually, something that’s overruled is not popular. So, it’s something that, even if there is a disagreement in society about it, that the disagreement is minute and there’s really agreement that this is really bad,” Lofaso said. “Here you have something that some people think is wrong and other people, they have a religious view, and their religious view is that life doesn’t begin at conception, and so this is about their own personal bodily autonomy and … about their own religious beliefs and that now, the government is telling them that they can’t do something with their own bodily autonomy.”
Abortion-rights supporters have the opportunity to ask their lawmakers to vote for abortion rights or ask for a referendum and have a West Virginia state constitutional protection for abortion. This can be done by calling your local lawmaker.