Statement from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released the following statement today regarding allegations made by some groups in response to letters sent by the Office to abortion clinics in West Virginia:
"On Monday, I sent a letter to two abortion clinics about various regulatory issues to gather information to assess the adequacy of oversight over abortion facilities so that we can protect the health of women. Although my Office has the authority to issue subpoenas in some circumstances, we have not issued one here. Sadly, rather than focus on facts and details, certain groups have chosen to politicize the letters. Indeed, they are trying to raise money through scare tactics by mischaracterizing the law.
Here are the facts:
1. There is no law or regulation that charges an entity in state government with general oversight or licensing authority over an abortion clinic as a whole.
2. As we noted in our original statement, doctors and nurses are regulated by the State. That is not the same, however, as regulating the facilities where those doctors and nurses work. Our legislature has recognized as much by providing separate oversight for hospitals and free standing surgical centers.
3. We are doing a review to determine whether there is reason to have additional and separate regulation of abortion clinics, and the information provided in response to our letters will be critical to that task. We are hopeful that the clinics will cooperate in this matter. Ultimately, the Legislature will have to decide the appropriate level of regulation.
4. As the chief legal officer of the State, I have an obligation to evaluate significant legal questions facing West Virginia. I have used and will continue to use the power of this Office judiciously, but I will never shirk from my responsibilities.
Our letters were carefully tailored to focus on the lack of regulation of abortion clinics as a whole. We hope that the groups who have sought to politicize this important issue of public health and safety will begin to stick to the facts.”