Clinics respond to WV AG Patrick Morrisey’s letters - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Clinics respond to WV AG Patrick Morrisey's requests for abortion regulations

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A day after the deadline for responses, two West Virginia clinics have responded to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's letters, which sought to assess abortion regulations in the state.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sent letters to the Women's Health Center of West Virginia and Kanawha Surgicenter, both in Charleston, asking questions about how often clinics are inspected, abortion regulations, whether the clinics have compliance plans and their relationships with the National Abortion Federation.

Morrisey also asked about what types of procedures are used, the maximum gestational age, preferred methods of performing abortions and the amount of anesthesia administered.

Morrisey's office received letters from the two clinics July 2. The letter from Kanawha Surgicenter said the clinic is following all laws. 

"We along with doctors and other West Virginians dedicated to women's health are concerned when, if ever any state official may single out certain health care providers for scrutiny for reasons unrelated to medial care and public health," the letter reads. "While we are unaware of any legal obligation to respond to your letter, we have no objection to confirming that we follow all federal, state and local laws and that we provide the highest quality of medical care available."

Morrisey's office said the Women's Health Center of West Virginia also sent a one-page letter, saying the center follows all laws and regulations. However, Morrisey said the letter "declined to answer a number of questions, citing pending litigation."

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed a lawsuit June 6 on behalf of Itai Gravely. Gravely went to the Women's Health Center of West Virginia for an abortion procedure.

The lawsuit says Dr. Rodney Stephens gave a sedative to Gravely, but during the procedure Gravely asked to stop the abortion because of extreme pain.

The lawsuit alleges Stephens ignored Gravely's request and physically restrained her with the help of clinic assistants.

Gravely called an ambulance and was rushed to CAMC Women's and Children's Hospital the next day, the lawsuit says. An ultrasound performed by CAMC medical staff showed that Gravely was thirteen weeks pregnant. The staff then removed remainders of the fetus or "products of conception" from Gravely's uterus.

"We will continue our efforts to review the state of abortion regulation in West Virginia and seek to ensure that women's health is protected."