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Morrisey v. Women’s Health Center of West Virginia

Description:  Abortionists in West Virginia are seeking to repeal a 152-year-old state law that protects unborn lives from the moment of conception.


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Tuesday, Jul 19, 2022

CHARLESTON, W.V. – Serving as co-counsel to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed an emergency motion Tuesday in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to uphold the state’s pro-life law.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade, West Virginia is free to enforce its 1870 law that protects unborn lives beginning at conception. However, a group of abortionists are seeking to halt enforcement of the law, arguing that supplemental pro-life laws the state enacted after Roe was decided in 1973 effectively repealed the older 1870 law. A state trial court issued a preliminary injunction late Monday to halt enforcement of the law, prompting ADF attorneys and the attorney general to file an emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction and allow West Virginia to protect the lives of unborn children and mothers.

“For 152 years, West Virginians have sought to protect life, and now that Roe is overruled, the state is eager to preserve the innocent lives of the unborn beginning at conception,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “We’re pleased to serve alongside Attorney General Morrisey in defending the state’s duly-enacted 1870 law that will allow West Virginians to protect the lives of mothers and their children.”

“Every week the lower court’s injunction is in place, 25 innocent, unborn children will lose their lives. Each of those deaths irreparably harms the State’s interest in protecting all unborn human life within its borders,” the emergency motion for stay filed in Morrisey v. Women’s Health Center of West Virginia states. “West Virginia has waited 50 years to be allowed to once again fulfill its moral commitment to protect the unborn. This Court should stay the lower court’s preliminary injunction immediately and allow the State to enforce the Act while this suit is litigated on appeal.”

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, ADF attorneys have worked in five others states to defend pro-life laws: Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT John Bursch

John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position. Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.