CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a 19-state effort in defending the right of states to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Morrisey says the move also is a crucial argument to protect the lives of unborn children and safeguard West Virginia’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Morrisey says the coalition’s brief, filed Sept. 3 with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, leans upon a growing scientific consensus that a fetus is capable of experiencing pain at the 20-week threshold, if not before.
“We must protect the life and liberty of every West Virginian, including the unborn,” Morrisey said. “We must safeguard unborn children from pain and promote life, all while also protecting the health of the mother. West Virginia’s law holds true to that mission, and this brief demonstrates my commitment to fight off any potential challenge to its constitutionality.”
The brief supports the constitutionality of North Carolina’s 20-week ban as applied to abortions both before and after the point of viability. Both the North Carolina and West Virginia laws include an exception in cases of medical emergency. The brief also challenges the plaintiff’s ability to have brought the initial lawsuit.
Morrisey says the U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that states have valid interests in regulating abortion upon the grounds of women’s health and protecting the dignity of human life.
Any decision regarding the North Carolina case before the 4th Circuit appeals court could affect not only North Carolina’s law, but also similar laws in West Virginia and across the court’s jurisdiction which also covers Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.
Joining West Virginia on the brief are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case number 19-1685