“In light of the deaths in Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’ the time is now to insure that more women are not victimized by an unaccountable, unregulated and profit-hungry abortion industry cutting corners and ruining lives,” said AUL’s General Counsel Ovide M. Lamontagne.
WASHINGTON, D.C, (08-19-13) – Americans United for Life filed an extensive comment with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office in response to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s request for public comments on the state’s abortion industry out of concern for the impact on women’s health and safety in West Virginia clinics. Using our model Women’s Protection Act language, AUL evaluated the state’s current abortion laws, noted that West Virginia lags behind many other states in adopting laws to protect women from the undisputed harms inherent in abortion, and made specific recommendations to protect women from the self-serving and predatory practices of a largely unregulated abortion industry.
“AUL commends Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for proactively working to protect women and girls in West Virginia,” said Ovide M. Lamontagne, AUL’s General Counsel. “In light of the deaths in Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’ the time is now to ensure that more women are not victimized by a profit-hungry abortion industry cutting corners and ruining lives. To equip leaders like Attorney General Morrisey, AUL had developed the Women’s Protection Project – a comprehensive plan for state leaders who care about the 1 in 3 women who may experience the harmful effects of abortion.”
In our official comment, AUL spotlights our Women’s Protection Project, information and legislation highlighting and responding directly to abortion’s increasingly well-documented negative impact on women and their health.
“Enactment of the legislation featured in this cutting-edge initiative will greatly increase the legal protections for West Virginia women considering abortion and will advance the state’s legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient,” said Lamontagne.
The Women’s Protection Project includes six pieces of AUL model legislation:
- Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act requiring abortion providers to meet the same patient care standards as other facilities performing outpatient surgeries.
- Women’s Right to Know Act providing a woman, at least 24 hours before an abortion, with detailed information regarding her medical and psychological risks; her child’s gestational age, development, and pain capability; and the abortion procedure itself.
- Parental Involvement Enhancement Act strengthening parental involvement laws with requirements for notarized consent forms; identification and proof of relationship for a parent or guardian; and more stringent standards for judicial bypass proceedings.
- Child Protection Act strengthening requirements that family planning and abortion clinics report all cases of suspected statutory rape and sexual abuse and imposing strict penalties on those who circumvent these laws.
- Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act protecting women from unsafe “telemed” abortions (where abortion-inducing drugs are administered without a face-to-face examination by a physician) and the growing practice within the abortion industry not to follow FDA-approved protocols for the administration of these dangerous drugs.
- Women’s Health Defense Act limiting abortions at or after five months of pregnancy based on the substantial risks these abortions pose to women’s health and the pain felt by unborn children.
AUL’s analysis of current West Virginia abortion laws showed that the state has a basic informed consent law, but does not maintain laws regulating abortion clinics, adequately protecting minors girls, safeguarding women from the unsafe off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486, or limiting dangerous late-term abortions.
In July, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey began soliciting comments from “all interested stakeholders and the general public,” asking them to share “their knowledge and experience with health care regulation, generally, and abortion regulation, specifically, in West Virginia and elsewhere.”
The request for public comments is part of the Attorney General’s review of the state’s abortion laws. One area of particular interest for Attorney General Morrisey is whether abortion clinics in West Virginia should be regulated. The review began in June after a lawsuit was filed by a Charleston woman who alleges that a doctor at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia botched her abortion.
“The merits of that lawsuit must still be resolved in court, but it does raise serious questions about how such clinics in West Virginia are inspected and reviewed to ensure patients are safe,” Attorney General Morrisey said in a prepared statement.
At the time, Attorney General Morrisey also noted that West Virginia regulates numerous health professionals, including massage therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. “But abortion clinics are neither licensed nor regulated by the state,” he said. “Regardless of one’s position on abortion, the state needs to evaluate this basic fact.”
To read more about the Women’s Protection Project, click here.