CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said he will declare a special session of the West Virginia Legislature to clarify the state’s abortion law.

On Wednesday night, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a memorandum saying that an abortion law in the West Virginia State Code from the 1800s is enforceable. That law is older than the state and would make abortion a felony in West Virginia.

Morrisey went on to say, however, that it is strongly advised to amend the laws in the Mountain State to provide for clear prohibitions on abortion that are consistent with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that Supreme Court Justices used to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24.

It reads:

Any person who shall administer to, or cause to be taken by, a woman, any drug or other thing, or use any means, with intent to destroy her unborn child, or to produce abortion or miscarriage, and shall thereby destroy such child, or produce such abortion or miscarriage, shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than three nor more than ten years; and if such woman die by reason of such abortion performed upon her, such person shall be guilty of murder. No person, by reason of any act mentioned in this section, shall be punishable where such act is done in good faith, with the intention of saving the life of such woman or child.

West Virginia State Code §61-2-8

The law is already facing opposition with a lawsuit filed by the ACLU-WV shortly before Morrisey released his memorandum. That lawsuit claims that more recent legislation on abortion that conflicts with the older law should take precedence.

Also on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of West Virginia (ACLU-WV), Mountain State Justice (MSJ) and the Cooley law firm filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia (WHC) and its staff in an attempt to stop the statute from becoming law, arguing it should be considered “void by implication” because a newer, conflicting law was passed which restricts abortion after 22 weeks.