Jul 18, 2022 - Health

Judge temporarily blocks West Virginia's 1800s pre-Roe abortion ban

Picture of abortion rights supporters in front of the Supreme Court

Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A judge in West Virginia on Monday temporarily blocked the state's pre-Roe abortion ban from taking effect.

Why it matters: Following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Women's Health Center of West Virginia — the state's only abortion clinic — suspended services in fear of being prosecuted under that law.

  • The clinic filed a lawsuit in June to challenge the law and ensure that it does not become enforceable.

What they're saying: "We have been proud to provide essential abortion services to West Virginians for nearly 50 years, and we’re determined to continue doing so for as long as we’re able," said Katie Quiñonez, the clinic's executive director, in a statement.

  • "Today’s decision is a sigh of relief, and means we can once again serve the people who reach out to us for abortion services. Make no mistake: Essential health care shouldn’t depend on the whims of a court or politicians, it should be based on compassion and what’s best for one’s life and future."

Details: The statute, which was enacted in the late 1800s and became dormant after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, makes abortion illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Zoom out: Lawsuits have been filed in other states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, to stop pre-Roe bans from taking effect.

What we’re watching: West Virginia’s attorney general said Monday that he will appeal the decision “as soon as legally possible.”

Go deeper: Dashboard: The latest on Roe v. Wade and abortion

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