CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Christian evangelical group that's suing a Charleston abortion clinic called on state legislators Monday to pass laws that regulate abortion in West Virginia.
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia announced its "Illuminate Campaign" for abortion oversight during a press conference at the state Capitol.
"There are more regulations for tattoo studios and veterinary medical clinics than for the abortion clinics of this state," said Jeremiah Dys, president of the Family Policy Council, which opposes abortion.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reviewing abortion regulation in the state. Morrisey, who opposes abortion, has said abortion facilities are "neither licensed nor regulated by the state." Dys encouraged West Virginians to send comments to Morrisey's office.
"The Illuminate Campaign seeks to mobilize comments by West Virginians and pro-life organizations in support of reasonable health and safety regulations," Dys said.
Dys is representing a Charleston woman who filed a lawsuit in June against a Charleston doctor and Women's Health Center of West Virginia, alleging she suffered a botched abortion at the facility last year. The lawsuit also alleges the woman was restrained and forced to have an abortion against her will. The clinic has denied the allegations.
About a dozen state lawmakers -- both Republicans and Democrats -- attended Dys' press conference Monday at the state Capitol rotunda. Legislators are attending interim meetings in Charleston this week. During the past legislative session, the House passed a resolution (HCR 167) to study abortion regulation.
"It's beyond belief there's no regulation here," said Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam.
Dys said he was disappointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's "silence" on the need for abortion regulation in West Virginia.
"While abortion remains legal, we are committed to exposing the abortion industry and bringing their dangerous work out into the safety of public light," Dys said. "While good people may disagree at many points of the abortion debate, where there ought to be no debate is that so long as abortionists are permitted to ply their trade, they must do so in a matter that does as little harm as possible."