CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Has West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey decided which office to run for yet? What does he think about the lawsuits against the state over its new abortion law?
Morrisey was in the Clarksburg area on Friday and visited 12 News, so crews asked him those questions, as well as about other issues.
Running for Office
Morrisey is “very seriously considering” a run for West Virginia governor or for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D) seat in the U.S. Senate.
“When I announce in the next 30 to 60 days, people are going to have a chance to examine our record and I think people will know that we have by far and away of all the folks looking to run for higher office, the best record protecting innocent life, standing up and defending the Second Amendment, fighting federal overreach, winning the big Hope Scholarship case, defending the integrity of women’s sports, on case after case after case on issue after issue.”
Gov. Jim Justice can not run for governor again due to term limits. He has said that he is “seriously considering” a run for U.S. Senate. Secretary of State Mac Warner has announced he is running in the 2024 West Virginia Governor race.
Rep. Alex Mooney (R) is running for Manchin’s seat and current West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore is running for Mooney’s seat.
The Abortion Lawsuits
One of the lawsuits the state is facing, filed by an abortion pill manufacturer, argues that because mifepristone, the drug at the center of the lawsuit, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant, West Virginia’s law that bans abortion after eight weeks in many cases violates the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.
“We feel very strongly that that’s wrong for a number of reasons,” Morrisey said. “First, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision, they knew full well that over half of the abortions occurring today are chemically induced through drugs. Second, there’s no provision within the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act dealing with abortion.”
Morrisey said he thought the Supreme Court was very clear that abortion is an issue to be left to the states.
West Virginia’s sole abortion clinic has also sued the state over its abortion law.
“We think that these challenges are going to fall,” Morrisey said, “That we’re on very defensible grounds. I can’t predict when and where that will happen but I can say that we like the position we’re in to be able to defend this law.”
Those lawsuits are still in their early stages, and Morrisey says that the state has not even been served in the process of the abortion clinic’s lawsuit yet.
Morrisey said that in the upcoming days and weeks, those in his office will be meeting to get their responses to the lawsuits together.
West Virginia’s Law Addressing Trans Athletes
12 News also asked Morrisey about the state’s law requiring athletes to participate in sports on the team that matches their biological sex, not their gender identity. The law was recently upheld by a federal court.
“The legislature actually proved prophetic because all of those can go back to the last summer to the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships and you see pretty clearly that—what happens when you have biological males competing,” Morrisey said. “It’s unfair and in some sports, it may create safety issues for women. Certainly, it’s very destructive of Title 9 and the opportunities that women have had to advance.”
While Morrisey celebrated what he said was a win for the state, he said he expects “the other side” to appeal the decision.
The Opioid Crisis
Morrisey said he has also written a letter to the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, asking him to bring U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken for a hearing about the nation’s rise in fentanyl overdoses.
“If you look at the fentanyl problem, the base ingredients are in China,” Morrisey said. “Then they’re ultimately shipped to the Mexican drug cartels, the products are packaged together and then they make their way over the border, into the heartlands, and West Virginians are dying at an alarming rate.”
The state attorney general joined a group of other state AGs in asking the federal government to classify the drug as a weapon of mass destruction.
When asked if he thought it would help to enforce the existing laws at the U.S.-Mexico border, Morrisey said, “It would be the difference of night and day” because “The federal government is doing such a terrible job at our border.”
He said West Virginia feels the effects of the border crisis through the fentanyl epidemic.
“I’m convinced that we could make a huge difference if the feds just do their job, but if they keep not doing their job, state attorneys general like myself and many others are going to step up, we’re gonna push, we’re gonna fight, and we’re gonna try and protect and save as many people as we can.”
Last year, “rainbow fentanyl” that was believed to have originated from Mexico was found in Morgantown as part of a drug bust.