Judge HALTS Enforcement of 150-Year-Old Law – Is This Okay?
(USNewsBreak.com) – When the US Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it allowed states to enact their abortion laws. Trigger laws, which were on the books before Roe v. Wade, became effective again, but pro-choice advocates quickly took to the courtroom to fight them. In West Virginia, a court battle between the state and the Women’s Health Center began over a 150-year-old law the clinic said wasn’t valid. A judge agreed, putting a pause on enforcement.
A judge in West Virginia's capital blocked enforcement of the state's 150-year-old abortion ban Monday, opening the door for abortions to resume in the state, at least for now. https://t.co/XnbmCQNNdx
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) July 19, 2022
West Virginia Code Section 61-2-8, the state’s original abortion law, made performing or receiving the service a felony. The only exception was when the life of the mother was in danger. This law was created back in the 1800s, but newer legislation, West Virginia Code Section 16-2M-4, changed the rules, allowing the service for up to 20 weeks.
The state’s only abortion clinic halted all services after the US Supreme Court ruling due to fears that employees could face arrest. The establishment also took its case to court to secure a legal basis to return to business as usual. Representatives claim the more recent law supersedes the old law.
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tera L. Salango ruled in favor of the clinic on July 18. She blocked the Civil War-era legislation, explaining the conflict with more recent laws and vagueness in the wording required updating. The judge also noted enforcement could harm citizens who need services due to rape or incest and insisted she must block it until the court can make a final ruling to clear up ambiguity.
West Virginia is just one of multiple states with abortion bans or restrictions that have faced legal challenges since Roe v. Wade was overturned. For instance, judges recently blocked both a Kentucky and Texas abortion laws. Meanwhile, on July 20, an appeals court cleared a fetal heartbeat law in Georgia to take effect.
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