Yesterday’s Kanawha County Court ruling on temporary abortion policy injunction triggers many responses

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Yesterday afternoon, on July 18, 2022, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tera Salango issued a temporary injunction on a state abortion law dating back 150 years.

Salango ruled the injunction as “appropriate,” saying that the 1800s abortion law conflicts with those passed in more recent years. It was a case regarding the state’s only abortion clinic, The Women’s Health Center of West Virginia.

Although temporary and likely to be appealed, the ruling sparked a wave of emotion from both sides of the aisle.

“I think it’s political theater, I think the ultimate decision was made by the United States Supreme Court,” Governor Jim Justice says. “We need to really stop the theatrics but we do need to clean up the law and we do need a special session to clean that up.”

Governor Justice was not alone, as West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also sees the decision as one that should have been final in the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In his initial response yesterday, Morrisey announced his disappointment and stated that he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeals as soon as possible.

Of course, others see it as a small victory. The Chair of the Raleigh County Democratic Executive Committee, Danielle Stewart says it’s a wait-and-see kind of matter, as the anticipated special Legislative session will be the ultimate deciding factor.

“I think that it’s holding in place what has already been going on since 1973, and I think that it is a short-term victory for women in West Virginia, and we’ll see whether we can continue with that,” says Stewart.

The injunction means that the state’s more recent laws regarding abortion remain in effect while the much older 1800s laws are temporarily banned.

The earliest law on the books in West Virginia describes three to ten years imprisonment for abortion, with the exception of the life of the mother being taken into account.

Governor Justice says the special session to clarify the laws is still expected to come very soon.

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