West Virginia's two stand-alone abortion clinics aren't cooperating with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's review of abortion regulation.
The clinics -- both located in Charleston -- submitted short responses to Morrisey's inquiry this week, but would not answer the attorney general's specific questions about medical procedures performed at the facilities.
"Hopefully, Mr. Morrisey will accept this as a sign that it is time for him to move on," said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of West Virginia Free, an abortion rights group. "We hope Mr. Morrisey will get on with the people's business and stop his politically motivated inquisition."
The ACLU of West Virginia and women's health advocates say Morrisey's review is a veiled attempt to outlaw abortion in the state. Morrisey opposes abortion.
Morrisey sent letters to the abortion clinics on June 17, directing them to answer 17 questions about abortion regulation and medical procedures. Monday was the deadline for the clinics to respond.
In a written response sent to Morrisey's office Tuesday, Dr. Garli Harish of the Kanawha Surgicenter clinic in Kanawha City, said doctors and health advocates are "concerned when...any state official may single out certain health care providers for scrutiny for reasons unrelated to medical care and public health."
Harish added that the clinic "was unaware of any legal obligation" to respond to Morrisey's questions. The attorney general did not issue subpoenas for the information
"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," Harish wrote to Morrisey. "Our mission is to continue to work every day to make sure West Virginia women receive the medical care they need to stay healthy, to care for themselves, and to care for their families."
In a separate letter, Women's Health Center of West Virginia, told Morrisey that its clinic also "complies with all laws and regulations." But the health center would not disclose its abortion procedures, citing an ongoing lawsuit filed by a Charleston woman who alleges a Women's Health Center doctor botched her abortion last year.
"The center is not in the position of providing substantive responses to your letter," said Sharon Lewis, the clinic's executive director, in a response sent to Morrisey Monday. "...We must decline to respond to your inquiries and allow the discovery process and justice system to address those matters."
Women's Health Center and Surgicenter executives have declined to comment to the media on Morrisey's review.
Morrisey released the abortion clinics' letters Monday amid plans to push ahead with his review - with or without the clinics' cooperation.
"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," Morrisey said in prepared statement.
Morrisey started his abortion regulation review last month, citing a lawsuit filed by a Charleston woman against Dr. Rodney Lee Stephens and the Women's Health Center, which provides elective abortions.
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, a conservative evangelical group that opposes abortion, is representing the 26-year-old woman, Itai Gravely, who alleges Stephens botched her abortion and left the head of the fetus in her uterus.