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Judge Blocks Enforcement of West Virginia Pre-Roe Abortion Ban

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

On Monday, a West Virginia judge temporarily blocked officials from enforcing a pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban in the state. 

The decision by Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tera Salango will allow abortion providers in the state to resume services. According to AbortionFinder.org, there is one abortion clinic left in the state. 

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West Virginia’s pro-life attorney general argued that the law could take effect again now that the Supreme Court overturned Roe last month (via Reuters): 

Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office argued that the 1800s-era law could take effect once again, making it a felony to perform or have an abortion, with exceptions only to protect a pregnant woman's life.

But Salango agreed with the clinic, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, that the law was effectively repealed by more modern, post-Roe statutes that "hopelessly conflict" with the old one allowing for abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

She called it unfair to allow the state to maintain conflicting laws on its books and that the clinic and its patients were suffering as a result.

"It simply does not matter if you are pro-choice or pro-life," she said. "Every citizen in this state has a right to clearly know the laws under which they are expected to live."

Morrisey in a statement said he would appeal the preliminary injunction to the state's highest court, saying "current law on the books calls for the protection of life."

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In a tweet, the American Civil Liberties Union called the law “archaic” and said “no one should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.”

Several other states, as Townhall has covered, have laws predating Roe on the books protecting the unborn, including WisconsinMichigan and Texas

This month, the Texas Supreme Court blocked a lower court’s ruling that allowed abortion clinics in the state to resume services. The Texas Supreme Court put the state’s pre-Roe law back in place.

In a tweet, pro-life Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the decision a “pro-life victory” and said that “our state’s pre-Roe statutes banning abortion in Texas are 100% good law.”

“I’ll keep winning for Texas’s unborn babies,” he added.

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