Press Release

Cooley Challenges West Virginia’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

February 3, 2023

San Francisco – February 3, 2023 – Cooley again partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, ACLU West Virginia and Mountain State Justice to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia and a physician abortion provider challenging West Virginia’s House Bill 302, a near-total abortion ban passed in September 2022. This follows a victory for the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia in July 2022, when a West Virginia state court granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the state’s 19th-century criminal abortion ban. Partners Kathleen Hartnett, Kathleen Goodhart and Marc Suskin led the Cooley team, along with associates Patrick Hayden, Darina Shtrakhman and Reece Trevor.

After the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, HB 302 was passed in West Virginia, banning almost all abortions at any stage of development, regardless of viability, with limited exceptions. Plaintiffs argue that HB 302’s severe restrictions on performing abortions in the narrow set of circumstances authorized by the legislation are irrational and unconstitutional. They seek a preliminary injunction against all of HB 302’s restrictions because, by the terms of the legislation, if any portion of the law is determined to be unconstitutional, the entire law must be struck down.

“We are proud to continue working alongside the ACLU and Mountain State Justice to show that West Virginia’s abortion restrictions are irrational and unlawful,” said Hartnett.

“The process by which this law was forced through is one of the least transparent in recent memory,” said Aubrey Sparks, managing attorney for ACLU West Virginia. “Every day that this cruel law remains on the books is a day that West Virginians are being denied critical, lifesaving healthcare.”

Read the press release

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